WA a growing tourist magnet

Kent Acott
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WA a growing tourist magnet

A family from Singapore visit Kings Park. Natasha and Glenn Tan and their father William. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

The number of overseas tourists visiting WA in a year has stormed through 800,000 for the first time, mainly because of big increases from Singapore and Britain.

The latest national visitor survey shows 807,000 overseas tourists visited WA in the year to September - up 56,000 (7.5 per cent) on the previous year.

It means one in eight overseas visitors to Australia finds their way to WA.

Singapore tourists jumped from 60,700 to 78,800 people - almost 30 per cent. Visitors from Britain increased 13,200 to 154,100.

Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland said Singapore was a vital market for WA tourism.

"WA has to offer what many Singaporeans crave - and what other markets can't copy - fresh air, sunshine, clear blue skies, white beaches and fresh produce," Ms Buckland said.

"Our current marketing activity for Singapore focuses on self-drive, food and wine, and adventure trails.

"We also have Singapore-linked aviation partnerships with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Jetstar and TigerAir."

Singapore tourist William Tan and his family have spent 10 days in Perth and the South West and have been struck by the friendliness and helpfulness of locals.

With his 10-year-old son Glenn about to begin an exchange program with a Fremantle water polo team, Mr Tan took the family to a farm-stay at Harvey, then to Augusta and Margaret River and its "relaxing" caves.

Time was spent shopping in Perth and there was a last-minute visit to Kings Park before flying out last night.

"We have never been to Perth, though some of our friends have been here five or six times," Mr Tan said.

"I think we will be back."

Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said the survey also showed that West Australians were seeing the value of travelling within the State.

Domestic tourism injected $4.6 billion into the State's economy in the year - a 12 per cent increase on the previous year and three times the national increase.

"The figures reflect the importance of marketing local attractions and regional tourism operators," Mr Hall said.