Liberals fight for plan to put wa tourism back on the map

 If the past week of outbreaks and lockdowns has taught us one thing, it’s that the State Government needs a better plan. 

Labor had 10 months – the longest time of any state – to prepare for a lockdown, to make sure Western Australia had the best response to an outbreak. 

West Australians expect their government’s response to COVID-19 to be the most organised, most thought out, most prepared in the country because they’ve had the time to get ready, to get prepared, and to plan for every eventuality. 

This is why we need to get ready now for the day we can welcome tourists back to our state, when WA’s Chief Health Officer says its safe. 

Zak Kirkup and the Liberals are fighting for WA’s tourism industry operators with a plan to help them recover from COVID-19 and create more local jobs. 

“There are more than 28,000 tourism businesses in Western Australia that play a vital role in promoting our beautiful State, creating local jobs and generating economic activity,” Mr Kirkup said. 

“The tourism sector was one of the first financial victims of the COVID-19 crisis, and the many operators, small businesses and services across our state have shouldered an enormous financial burden in the fight to keep us safe. 

“We need to help these small tourism businesses bounce back from COVID-19 with a strong plan to bring visitor numbers back to our state as quickly as possible so that our local operators can recover and thrive. 

“WA’s pristine reputation as a travel destination is a major draw card around the world and an opportunity we must be prepared to capitalise on once it is safe for tourism to resume.” 

Shadow Minister for Tourism and Small Business Alyssa Hayden said the government should lift its game on destination marketing, event tourism and destination development. 

“The Liberals want to see WA tourism be the first out of the blocks after COVID-19 and we will fight for the funding to secure headline events that fill our stadiums, arenas and local venues,” Ms Hayden said. 

“We also want to see better promotion of unique Aboriginal tourism experiences, more investment in tourism-related infrastructure that supports the regions, and the creation of a stand-alone Tourism WA with a larger budget. 

“I know how tough it has been for tourism operators over the last 12 months, which is why we are also calling for increased funding for all five Regional Tourism Organisations to help support tourism operators in each region with their recovery. 

“The number of businesses that are expected to qualify under Labor’s Tourism Recovery Package is projected to be less than 8 per cent which simply isn’t enough.” 

The Liberals are calling on the State Government to implement our WA Tourism Plan, which would cost $178 million: 

  • $50 million to boost Tourism WA’s budget for Destination Marketing, Event Tourism and Destination Development. 
  • $50 million to attract one-off major international events. 
  • $50 million to establish a WA Tourism Infrastructure and Attraction Fund. 
  • $10 million to develop four new ‘Camping with Custodians’ campgrounds on Aboriginal lands from the Gascoyne to the Great Southern to extend the network of five campgrounds currently operating in the Kimberly and Pilbara. 
  • $9 million for four new Living Knowledge Centres staffed by local Aboriginal people. 
  • $3 million increased funding for all five Regional Tourism Organisations. 
  • $3 million to plan an Indigenous Cultural Centre in conjunction with the WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Council. 
  • $2 million for the creation of a stand-alone Tourism WA and appointment of a stand-alone CEO, reporting directly to the Minister for Tourism. 
  • $1 million to establish a Small Community Events Fund. 
  • Dedicated legislation to create a streamlined approvals process for state significant events, attractions, and sustainable tourism development.