Bob Kucera

Bob Kucera

Former Minister for Disability Services; Sport and Recreation; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests; Seniors

    Government support ensures tourism industry reaches record levels

    2/11/2004 10:34 AM

    Tourism Minister Bob Kucera has criticised the tourism industry’s lobby group for demanding more money, when State Government support has seen the industry reach record visitor levels.

    Mr Kucera accused the Tourism Council of Western Australia of sitting back while the Government invested millions of dollars into tourism over the last four years, and now demanding more.

    “The Tourism Council refuses to recognise the valuable development work being done by Government,” he said.

    “The council also fails to recognise that infrastructure, building and maintenance programs, conservation and parks, holiday tourism facilities and projects such as the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, are all work that supports tourism in WA.

    “TCWA has an out-dated view about a government’s role in tourism. It only seems interested in having the Government fund advertising campaigns to serve its paid membership, rather than developing the industry.

    “The Government’s job is far bigger than funding marketing campaigns - it is about growing tourism for the future and building on the State’s $3.8billion a year tourism industry, something I would have thought would be central to the efforts of a genuine tourism lobby group.”

    The Minister said the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Economic Compass review showed spending by overseas tourists in WA had increased by 10 per cent to more than $1.3billion in 2003-04.

    Last financial year was also the best on record for nights spent in WA by tourists, as well as for overall expenditure by international visitors (Bureau of Tourism Research).

    Mr Kucera said the Government’s investment had been achievable because the Gallop Government had run surplus budgets - unlike the Opposition, which had run down the State with its record of five deficits in eight years.

    “I plan to have 100,000 people employed in the tourism and related businesses within the next five years,” he said.

    “To achieve that, we are doing the hard work of restructuring, research and strategic planning to ensure that new tourism product is developed to offer visitors and sell our State as a first-rate holiday destination.

    The Government has already delivered on promises and important projects over the past four years including:
    • $25million backing for the Super 14s rugby team bid;
    • an extra $20million to upgrade facilities at Rottnest Island;
    • a $2.75million branding campaign, the first since the Elle Macpherson campaign a decade ago;
    • 187 Regional Investment Fund projects related to tourism worth more than $16million;
    • protecting key tourist attractions like the South-West's iconic old growth forests and the world-famous Ningaloo reef;
    • attracting high-yield events such as the Johnnie Walker golf classic, Gravity Games, World Cup Rugby, Busselton Ironman and X-Raid extreme games;
    • reducing tourism zones from 10 to five and put $3million into improving visitor centres across the State;
    • giving $5million emergency funding to help the tourism industry recover from September 11, SARS and the Ansett collapse;
    • attracting new airline business from Valueair and Emirates and worked to have existing players expand their services; and
    • investing $60million over the next four years to establish and manage 18 new national parks and build visitor facilities in parks and reserves throughout the State.
    Mr Kucera said while the Tourism Council had taken the easy route of demanding more money, it could have been more productive by encouraging industry to deliver a high quality experience to visitors.

    “The Tourism Council needs to get more strategic and play a bigger role in helping plan the industry’s future or risk its credibility in the public’s eyes,” he said.

    Minister's office: 9213 7000