The State Government's commitment to regional tourism will be strengthened with the appointment of six tourism development officers to regional development authorities.
Tourism Minister Pam Beggs today said the officers would be appointed for the Great Southern, Goldfields-Esperance, Geraldton and Mid-West, the South-West, the Wheatbelt and Peel regions.
The appointments would be advertised later this month.
Mrs Beggs said Western Australian Tourism Commission officers would remain in Karratha, Carnarvon and Broome.
The five-person regional tourism promotions unit in Perth would continue to ensure that people in the State's biggest market for regional tourism were encouraged to travel to regional areas.
Mrs Beggs also announced the establishment of a working party comprising representatives of the Tourism Commission, the tourism industry and local government in each region, to decide how best to use the region's tourism expertise.
The decision to increase the State Government's commitment to regional tourism followed extensive consultation with the WA Municipal Association and the Country Urban Councils Association.
Both these organisations had expressed concern over changes which saw regional tourism offices closed in favour of a stronger marketing effort through the regional tourism promotions unit.
The move to appoint the tourism development officers followed a review of the changes.
Mrs Beggs said she was confident the new arrangements would make a big contribution to the development of tourism facilities and projects in the various regions.
"Tourism is one of the key industries that will have a major impact on Western Australia's economic, social and cultural development," she said.
"The regional tourism promotions unit will work in with the development authorities and commissions and target increased visitor numbers to each region.
"The tourism development officers will maintain close contact with tourism operators and will assist in facilitating new tourism projects."
Mrs Beggs said she believed the State was on the verge of a substantial growth in tourism in 1993.
"Western Australian tourism performed extremely well in 1992, considering that there was not the intense competition following the grounding of Compass at the end of 1991," she said.
"Latest figures show that in the 11 months to November last year, arrivals on interstate air services were down marginally compared with 1992.
"However, there were moderate increases in westbound passengers on the Eyre Highway and there were big increases in the number of passengers entering Western Australia through Kununurra.
"In fact, the drop in passenger traffic through Kununurra which normally heralds the summer low season was far less than expected with 2,400 passengers entering the State on this route compared with only 400 in November 1991."