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WA Government announces major tourism investment initiative

Initiative follows call to address the shortage of tourism accommodation in Western Australia, particularly in regional areas

The Western Australian Government has made a groundbreaking announcement, signaling a renewed commitment to boosting tourism investment across the state.

The establishment of a dedicated Tourism Investment Committee of Cabinet marks a significant step forward for Western Australia’s tourism industry, emphasising its importance as a key economic driver.

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This news follows a report handed down by Tourism Research Australia that showed WA had the lowest level of investment in new tourism accommodation and new attractions of any state in 2022 to 2023.

The Australian Hotels Association (WA) welcomed the announcement, recognising its potential to attract new development opportunities and investment in the state’s broad tourism sector.

AHA(WA) CEO Bradley Woods hailed the move as a game-changer, highlighting the pivotal role of hotels and hospitality in driving tourism growth. With streamlined approval processes promised, the committee aims to provide strategic guidance and oversight supported by detailed market analysis.

Led by the Tourism Minister and comprising ministers from various key portfolios such as Environment, Planning, Culture and the Arts, Sport and Recreation, and Regional Development, the committee signals a collaborative effort to bolster tourism infrastructure and experiences. This initiative aligns with the government’s vision to position tourism as a major pillar of economic diversity in Western Australia.

The recent data from Tourism Research Australia revealed a concerning trend that Western Australia lags behind other states in terms of investment in new tourism accommodation and attractions.

Earlier this week Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall raised alarm bells over the shortage of tourism accommodation, particularly in regional areas, where towns are reaching capacity and turning away potential visitors.

Mr. Hall emphasised the urgent need for investment in new accommodation to address capacity issues and stimulate job creation.

He highlighted the disparity in investment between Western Australia and other states, citing the state’s $1.4 billion investment pipeline compared to Queensland’s $8.5 billion. This gap not only affects the development of new attractions but also threatens the viability of existing ones, as seen with recent closures like the Penguin Island Discovery Centre and the Gloucester Tree.

Furthermore, Mr. Hall underscored the industry’s frustration with excessive red tape hindering investment opportunities. Streamlining the investment process through initiatives like the Office of the Coordinator-General, as announced previously by the Premier, could provide a much-needed boost to tourism development in Western Australia.

In light of these challenges, the establishment of the Tourism Investment Committee of Cabinet offers hope for a more coordinated and strategic approach to tourism investment. With the government and industry stakeholders working together, there is optimism for a revitalised tourism landscape that not only attracts visitors but also supports local economies and communities across Western Australia.

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