Backpacker slump hits WA international tourism

31 August 2016

The number of backpackers visiting Western Australia for work has slumped, contributing to poor results for the State in the latest international tourism figures.

The latest results from the International Visitor Survey show the number of working holiday makers coming to Western Australia dropped by more than 11 per cent in the year ending June 2016.

The overall number of international visitors to Western Australia grew by 6.3 per cent in the 12 months to June. This was the lowest growth for any Australian state and below the national growth figure of more than ten per cent.

Expenditure by international visitors to Western Australia also declined slightly in the year to June 2016, making it only one of two Australian states to experience a downturn in international visitor spend, along with Northern Territory (-12.7%).

Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said there were a number of factors contributing to the fall in working holiday makers.

“Increases in the visa fees for working holiday makers by the Federal government, a reduction in the numbers of jobs in the mining sector and the proposed backpacker tax have all worked to deter potential visitors coming to the State to work,” Mr Hall said.

Mr Hall said the poor international tourism result meant Western Australia continued to fall further behind the rest of Australia, losing market share along the way.

“Western Australian needs to move quicker in its transition away from resources towards diversifying with service industries such as tourism,” he said.

“These figures show that other Australian states and destinations are enjoying a tourism boom due to the low Australian dollar, but WA is falling behind.”

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