Tourism Minister Pam Beggs today announced a major restructure of the Western Australian Tourism Commission's regional network to streamline the Government's involvement in regional tourism marketing.
Mrs Beggs said the new structure was a big step forward for promoting regional tourism.
"It is a visionary development that will provide for regional tourism as it expands through the 1990s," she said.
The new plan involves establishing a regional tourism promotion unit in the Tourism Commission's head office in Perth, with individual staff responsible for promoting specific Western Australian regions.
"The Tourism Commission will maintain its Kimberley office in Broome and Gascoyne office in Carnarvon and the new Pilbara Development Commission will take over the duties of the Karratha office," Mrs Beggs said.
"All other offices and staff will be moved to Perth."
Mrs Beggs said the regional tourism network had been put in place in the early 1980s, when regional tourism was in its infancy.
"The Tourism Commission's regional offices had a developmental role, helping regions to frame tourism plans and to provide basic services to visitors," she said.
"The Tourism Commission in future will concentrate on marketing and promoting tourism to regional areas and leave local development issues to other sections of Government such as regional development authorities.
"Under the new plan, the regional tourism promotion unit will concentrate on marketing the regions to the closest tourism market, which is Perth.
"The Tourism Commission will continue promoting the regions in the interstate and international markets as it has done successfully since 1983.
"The new regional unit will be a performance-based operation with the very clear role of working with the industry to increase the number of tourists travelling through regional areas.
"It means the marketing effort will be centred on the biggest customer base for regional tourism, which is Perth.
"It will enable more effort to be placed on marketing major regional events. The centenary in the Goldfields next year and the Genevieve 500 classic car rally through the Great Southern to Albany are two examples of events that can be successfully promoted in the marketplace.
"As well, the Holiday WA Centre in Albert Facey House can be used effectively to promote the State's regional centres as tourist destinations.
"The new plan puts to Commission's resources into the 'origin' market which generates the visitors, rather than the destination to which the visitors travel.
"Successful initiatives such as the South-West Tourism Exchange will continue. This concept will be expanded to include a tourism exchange for the State's northern regions."