The West

Sandgropers have taste for travel

West Australians have the nation's highest propensity for international travel.

Figures contained in Perth Airport's 2014 draft master plan show West Australians take an average 1.04 overseas trips each year.

This is well ahead of people in NSW (0.80 trips), Victorians (0.74), Queenslanders (0.64) and South Australians (0.45).

WA's high rate has been attributed to access to cheap overseas destinations in Asia, a robust economy and the fact that WA has the highest proportion of overseas migrants in Australia.

The master plan, which is due to be released today for public comment, says international travel through Perth Airport has grown at 9.5 per cent a year for the past five years.

One of the major factors in this trend is that 37 per cent of Perth residents were born overseas, compared with the national average of 25 per cent.

Another 20 per cent have a parent born overseas.

The number of people settling in WA from overseas grew by 47,000 in 2011-12.

Last March, University of WA associate professor of anthropology and sociology Martin Forsey said the State's isolation and affluence were big factors driving West Australians' desire to travel.

"We can't underestimate our sense of adventure, " he said.

Another reason is the low cost of travel.

While airfares have doubled since 1970, average weekly earnings have soared twentyfold.

Favourite destinations for West Australians include Singapore, Bali and Kuala Lumpur.

Big growth destinations are Dubai and Doha, as gateways to Europe.

The airport master plan is available from the airport's website and hard copies are available.

The airport will also conduct community meetings with four shires - Belmont, Canning, Swan, Kalamunda - that are directly affected by the airport.

Times and locations are on the airport's website.

The West Australian

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