There are many sayings about tourism and travel, but I like the one that goes, ‘travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.’
Indeed, in Australia travel is always an enriching experience.
Our beaches are regularly ranked amongst the best in the world.
Our cities are incredibly vibrant and exciting.
Our outback offers a landscape unrivalled by anywhere else.
Whether it’s WA’s brilliant coastline, the expanse of red desert that dominates Central Australia, the rainforests of Tropical North Queensland, the rolling hills of wine country in the Hunter Valley, mountainous Tasmania, the sun setting over the Top End, or Kangaroo Island in SA – there’s something here for everyone.
And of course our history, which dates back at least 65,000 years, means we are home to the world’s oldest living culture.
Today, our first people continue to play an integral role in sharing this past and teaching not only us, but international visitors as well, about the importance of appreciating and caring for the land.
And as the challenges associated with climate change continue to grow, this is more important than ever before.
So I congratulate each of the Award nominees and recipients. The incredible diversity of the Australian tourism sector is certainly on show tonight.
Tourism has been identified as one of Australia’s super-growth sectors.
It underpins the local economies of towns and cities across the nation, generating more than $100 billion in overall economic activity.
And each year as the number of visitors to our shores increase – 8.8 million in the year ending December 2017, up 6.5 per cent from the year before – it’s clear that the work you do is making a difference.
It’s also significant that the awards are here at Perth Stadium – one of the first corporate events to be held here.
Quality infrastructure such as this is an essential part of the tourist experience.
Just the other week I visited the iconic tourist destination, Scarborough Beach, with my colleague and Member for Perth Tim Hammond.
There the City of Stirling is continuing its work to revitalise the area.
This will see WA continue to build its prominence as a world-class surfing destination.
Investment such as this becomes even more important in the light of several emerging trends, including an increase in independent travel from international visitors, particularly those from China.
But there’s also much to see outside our big cities.
If we can encourage visitors to get out into regional Australia, we can increase the average number of nights visitors stay as well as their expenditure.
Here in WA, nearly 1 million international visitors visited the state in the year ending September 2017.
And the new Perth-to-London direct by Qantas, starting next month, will bring enormous tourism benefit to WA, as people take the opportunity to stop over to and from Europe and see what WA has to offer.
WA received a huge boost from Roger Federer’s famous ‘quokka selfie’ on Rottnest Island. More than half a billion people in 45 countries saw this photo.
If just 1 per cent of those who saw this decided to come get a selfie of their own, that would result in five million visitors.
Get that quokka a contract.
We know that tourism marketing works, with return on investment delivering $16 benefit for every $1 invested.
But while we continue to promote Australia to international markets, there’s also an opportunity to increase our domestic visitor market, both intra-state and inter-state, as well through tourism promotion.
Prominent WA author Tim Winton had this to say about Australia:
“It’s good for the spirit, to be reminded as an individual or a community that there will always be something bigger, older, richer and more complex than ourselves to consider.”
It is through tourism and the work you do, that we have an opportunity to experience the many wonders of our nation and showcase them to the rest of the world.
FRIDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2018
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.