The West

Chinese put WA off the itinerary

WA's Chinese tourist bubble may have burst.

After four years of extraordinary growth, the number of Chinese tourists coming to WA has fallen.

Though the decline is only small - from 32,700 people in 2012 to 32,500 last year - it coincides with a continuing surge in the number of Chinese tourists coming to Australia.

Last year, nearly 80,000 more Chinese visitors came to Australia than the previous year (up 13.5 per cent) but significantly fewer of them chose to come to WA.

The fall in WA's market share comes despite direct air flights between Perth and China and the fact that WA is on the same time zone.

Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said WA had always attracted fewer holidaying Chinese than the rest of Australia.

Mr Hall said most Chinese visitors to WA - about two in every three - came here for business, so the sudden decline in visitor numbers might reflect the slowing of WA's economy.

Given the potential of the Chinese market, the State Government has allocated $3.9 million to co-operative marketing campaigns in China.

The number of visitors from France, however, jumped an extraordinary 4100, or 25.5 per cent last year.

It means one in five French tourists visiting Australia now comes to WA.

French waitress Fanny Masson said her compatriots were finally starting to add WA to their itineraries as word spread of the State's job opportunities, hot weather and picturesque beaches.

"For me, when I was in France, all I knew about was Sydney and Melbourne," she said.

"You never noticed Perth."

Ms Masson said French backpackers often stayed in WA longer than they planned because of the job opportunities and the number of places to visit.

The West Australian

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