More than half a million international visitors arrived in WA in the year to March 2000 - an 8.1 per cent jump on the previous 12-month period.
Tourism Minister Norman Moore said today that preliminary figures from the Bureau of Tourism Research also showed that Western Australia was the only State to record increases in visitor numbers from all the core international markets of the UK, Singapore, Japan, Germany and Malaysia.
Western Australia also was the only State to record an increase in visitors from Japan.
Mr Moore said that the figures pointed to Western Australia’s continuing and growing success in the international marketplace.
"The 8.1 per cent increase in international visitors in the 12 months to March is one of the best results in the country," he said.
Mr Moore said that Western Australia was second only to New South Wales in increases in overall international visitor numbers.
"This is an amazing result - particularly as New South Wales is enjoying a tourism bonanza thanks to the Olympics,” the Minister said.
He said that the figures showed a 37 per cent increase in visitors from Malaysia, a 25 per cent jump in visitors from Germany and a 7 per cent rise from Japan.
These increases were the largest in Australia.
Significantly, Western Australia also recorded a rise in visitors from the UK (8 per cent) and Singapore (5 per cent).
Mr Moore said that these outstanding results came at a time when international air capacity to Western Australia was on the rise.
Information gathered from the Westralia Airports Corporation (WAC) recently showed there were more than 1.2 million seats to Perth during 1999 -2000 - an increase of 11% on 1998-1999.
The total number of flights also increased by nearly 5 per cent during the same period from 4229 in 1998-1999 to 4435 to 1999-2000.
"Increased air capacity provides an incredible opportunity to strengthen the State's position as the western gateway to Australia - a major benefit for tourism in Western Australia," he said.
"This has been particularly important in the lead up to the Olympic Games.
"We have deliberately positioned Perth as Australia's Western Gateway to the Sydney 2000 Olympics and have used this to our advantage during discussions with the major airlines and WAC for increased access and capacity."
During 1999-2000 there were 1754 flights from Singapore, which was equal to a 17 per cent increase on the same period last year.
Flights from Malaysia totalled 605, which was a huge 31 per cent increase on the number recorded last year.
Seating capacity reflected these percentage changes for the same period, reaching 517,588 seats from Singapore, 170, 579 from Malaysia, and 65, 909 from Thailand.
The preliminary International Visitor Survey figures show a total of 49,600 visitors from Japan arrived in Western Australia in the 12 months to March; there were 117,600 from the UK; 70,100 from Singapore; 27,800 from Germany and 38,400 from Malaysia.
Hartley Joynt, Minister’s office, 0419 982 508,
Sue Waters, a/corporate communications manager, WATC, 9220 1750 or 0417 181477.