Rottnest Island 2015 visitor numbers highest on record for July to December period
Total visitor spend in the State up $800 million on last year's figures
West Australians took more than 18 million intrastate day trips and 6.8 million overnight trips in the 12 months to September 2015
As part of a growing trend, West Australians are opting to explore their own backyard more than ever before with the popularity of places such as Rottnest Island meaning ferry operators are adding more services to cope with a surge in demand.
Latest figures from Tourism Research Australia show West Australians took more than 18 million day trips around the State in the 12 months to September 2015, injecting almost $1.9 billion into the local economy.
Tourism Minister Kim Hames said it was logical that the highest growth area for intrastate visitation in WA was in the holiday-leisure segment, up 26.5 per cent on last year for day trips, and up 10.7 per cent for overnight trips, or an extra 277,000 stays, well above the national average.
"State Government investment in metropolitan and regional amenities, infrastructure and events means enjoying what WA has to offer is easier and increasingly attractive," Dr Hames said.
"In the 12 months to September 2015, the number of intrastate overnight visitors increased by 12 per cent to 6.8 million visitors, and the number of nights increased almost 17 per cent to 27.9 million."
The Minister added the amount spent by intrastate overnight visitors increased by 17 per cent to nearly $3.5 million, with an average spend per visitor of $509.
"As at year ended September 2015, the total visitor spend in WA reached $8.9 billion, up from $8.1 billion the year prior so we're on track to reach the State Government's target of $12 billion in visitor spend by 2020," he said.
Dr Hames said this year Tourism WA would launch a new campaign aimed at key domestic and international markets as part of the State Government's $24 million in extra funding over four years for tourism marketing.
"Perth is going through a once-in-a-lifetime revitalisation so it's time we refreshed our tourism marketing to celebrate our natural and built attractions, positioning Perth as a safe destination of choice and gateway to the rest of the State," he said.
"Developments such as Elizabeth Quay, and Perth Stadium are well under way and by 2020 we'll see a new world-class museum; a cultural, social and business precinct emerge thanks to the Perth City Link; and innovative venues, events and infrastructure linking it all together."
The Minister said a marketing campaign would also be launched to attract people to Rottnest Island in the quieter time after Australia Day, and to highlight its unique position as a wedding and/or honeymoon destination.
"Rottnest has shown strong growth in off-peak and shoulder periods with statistics compiled by ferry operators and independent research indicating an influx of winter visitors compared with 2014," Dr Hames said.
"July and October saw the biggest spikes with an increase of 43.5 per cent and 33.5 per cent respectively compared with the same time the year prior. That's a total of more than 50,400 visitors just for those two months, up from 37,000."
As another sign of Rottnest's growing popularity, the 2015-16 New Year's Eve fireworks - the first to be held on the island in 125 years - attracted crowds of more than 10,000.
The Minister said WA continued to lead the nation in cruise sector growth with visiting ships generating more than $275 million in 2014-15, a $159 million increase on the previous year.
State Government has invested $20 million in the past three years for Rottnest Island accommodation upgrades, infrastructure and facilities
Fremantle Port (one of 10 cruise ports: Esperance, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Exmouth, Broome, Port Hedland, Busselton and Augusta) is preparing for its biggest cruise season ever with more than 60 ships visiting or due to visit in 2015-16, double the previous financial year's figures
Minister's office - 6552 5300