The Opposition's tourism policy was an absolute cop-out that would set back tourism in the Goldfields, Deputy Premier and Kalgoorlie MLA Ian Taylor said today.
"In proposing to hand over the Tourism Commission's marketing arm to the private sector, the Opposition is abandoning tourism promotion for regional areas," he said.
"It will mean that instead of a co-ordinated approach to promoting regional tourism through the Regional Tourism Promotion Unit, each region would be left to its own devices.
"This will result in fragmentation of the promotion effort, waste resources and generally mean the marketing message will be lost in a hotch-potch of small, ineffective campaigns."
Mr Taylor said the Government's tourism policy would see the appointment of tourism development officers to work with agencies such as the Goldfields-Esperance Development Authority. This had the support of the WA Municipal Association and the Country Urban Councils Association.
"The Regional Tourism Promotions Unit also will work with the development authorities and target increased visitor numbers to each region," he said.
"The tourism development officers will ensure there is close contact with existing and new tourism operators in the regions, while the marketing side of tourism can concentrate on the biggest marketplace, which, in terms of regional tourism, is Perth.
"As well, the Tourism Commission can continue to market Western Australia as a national and international tourist destination."
Mr Taylor said Opposition claims that cheaper petrol would encourage more tourists to visit the Goldfields also was a furphy.
"The Opposition spreads the same message in other regions such as the Pilbara," he said.
"The goods and services tax will increase the cost of virtually everything associated with tourism, including tent site fees, power fees for caravans, motel and hotel accommodation and restaurants where people will have to pay an extra 15 per cent for service."