- The festival is held annually during the last weekend of May
- Whale sharks are one of the State's most significant attractions drawing visitors to the region, creating tourism jobs and stimulating the economy
The Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival will celebrate the annual whale shark migration with a family festival day, gala cocktail evening, movies under the stars and live music this weekend.
As part of the three-day festival, which starts today and is held in Exmouth, there will be free entry for visitors into Cape Range National Park on Sunday, May 27.
The festival is a celebration of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and the iconic whale sharks that aggregate at Ningaloo Marine Park, between March and August each year, to feed on plankton and krill.
The marine park's tropical waters are considered one of the best places to swim with whale sharks due to reliability of numbers and accessibility.
Whale shark swim tours operating from Coral Bay and Exmouth will continue through to August, enabling visitors to have a face-to-fin encounter with the friendly giants.
The Ningaloo Whale Shark Festival is sponsored by the State Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Scheme, which is supported by Royalties for Regions.
For more information on the festival, visit http://www.ningaloowhalesharkfestival.org.au
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"Western Australia is the only place in Australia, and one of a few places in the world, where you can swim with whale sharks.
"More than 29,000 people visited the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef in 2017 to swim with whale sharks.
"Facilitating whale shark tourism experiences in a sustainable way is not only ensuring this magnificent species is protected, it is also ensuring a prosperous future for the Exmouth community.
"The McGowan Labor Government is committed to promoting conservation and tourism opportunities that showcase WA's magnificent natural environment."
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
"Swimming with these gentle giants at Ningaloo is a massive drawcard for visitors from around the country and the world, creating tourism jobs and boosting the local economy.
"It truly is an extraordinary experience that is one of the State's most significant attractions.
"The State Government is pleased to support the festival, which not only highlights this fantastic experience and the region to visitors, but also helps to raise awareness of whale shark conservation."
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800
Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600