Newscorp onside as regions suffer lack of investment

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Business Resources, Government, Harmonisation, Media and Communications, National Headlines

Margaret River in WA has been almost forgot as a tourism destination, says AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods. Pic: Theo Fakos Source: News Corp Australia

TTN: 1st Dec 2014

Newscorp and the AHA of Western Australia have teamed up to accuse the government of a lack of infrastructure spending in Australia, citing a $500m investment in a museum in Spain’s Bilbao region as an example of the sort of projects that should get up around regional Australia to draw visitors out of cities.

Tourism hit by two-pace economy

From news.com.au, 30th November 2014

SOME of Australia’s hottest regional holiday spots are struggling to attract tourists for more than a fleeting visit as a result of poor investment and limited access.

Broome, Margaret River, Kakadu, Geelong, the Mornington Peninsula and virtually anywhere outside of Sydney are among those suffering from the “two-speed” tourism economy emerging around the country.

Tourism Accommodation Australia NSW acting CEO Carol Giuseppi said while city hotels were booked out four or five nights a week, regional centres were averaging just two.

“While many destinations enjoy strong weekend occupancies, the decline in business related travel has particularly affected midweek trading in many centres,” said Ms Giuseppi.

“More major events need to be developed and visitors encouraged to stay longer.”

Her concerns are echoed by National Visitor Survey data that shows expenditure slumping in the regions as tourists opt for a day trip rather than an overnight stay.

Although regional Victoria attracted 65 per cent of the state’s tourists, they accounted for just 43 per cent of all expenditure.

It was a similar story outside of Sydney where 70 per cent of tourists ventured — but contributed less than 60 per cent of the total tourist dollars.

Regional South Australia experienced a similar issue, pocketing just 43 per cent of all tourist expenditure from more than 60 per cent of the state’s visitors.

Australian Hotels Association Western Australia CEO Bradley Woods said tourists needed a reason to get out of the major cities and currently, that wasn’t happening.

“The mining and resources boom has provided a great deal of stimulus for accommodation demand in the last five years, but that market has died down quite substantially,” said Mr Woods.

“Since mid-2013 it’s been very sporadic in regional areas. Margaret River and Broome have been particularly affected and almost forgot about.”

Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain — AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods would like to see

Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain — AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods would like to see something similar built in regional Australia Source: AP

He said governments needed to look overseas for inspiration and suggested building an attraction similar to Spain’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

“Bilbao is now one of the most visited cities in Europe, as a result of $500 million investment,” Mr Woods said.

“It was an extremely successful investment for the people of Spain, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be thinking about iconic infrastructure of an arts nature.”

Ms Giuseppi said it benefited no-one to have regional tourism struggling.

“Governments need the regional tourism and hospitality sector to thrive to ensure that employment opportunities grow and local economies flourish, but at the moment there is a serious gap between intent and delivery” said Ms Giuseppi.

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