International visitor numbers have risen by 7.1 per cent to 613,000 visitors - more than 40,000 extra international visitors to Western Australia - and the highest number of visitors on record for a 12-month period.
Tourism Minister Mark McGowan said the figures were fantastic news for WA, which was aiming to establish itself as the nation’s premier tourism State.
“These figures released today are wonderful news for WA and demonstrate that we are on the right track,” Mr McGowan said.
“Not only have we seen unprecedented levels of international visitor numbers - those visitors are also staying longer, with an increase in visitor nights of 11.4 per cent to more than 15.5 million nights - one of the highest increases in Australia.
“The average increase in visitor nights across Australia was 5.3 per cent, making WA’s 11.4 per cent increase a tremendous result.
“Best of all, visitors are spending more money in WA, with the $1.2billion in visitor expenditure representing a 12.8 per cent increase - or an extra $137million spent in WA.”
Against this outcome, the national average for international visitor expenditure rose only three per cent, making the results for WA exceptional and showing the promising future and importance of tourism in WA.
Mr McGowan said the figures released today did not take into account the additional $9.4million for marketing WA overseas and interstate announced by the Premier in May.
“These figures were for the 12 months to March 2005, meaning next year’s results should be even better,” he said.
“The State Government is working on a number of fronts to improve international visitor numbers to WA, including meeting with airline executives to improve direct flights to Perth from Japan, China and Korea.
“Tourism is a major economic driver and employs more than 70,000 people in WA.
“We want to create more jobs and opportunities for all Western Australians and growing the tourism industry will help us achieve this goal.”
Minister's office: 9222 9111