Tourism budget steady for 2016-17, but certainty needed

12 May 2016

Today’s State Budget has overturned cuts to WA’s tourism marketing funding for 2016-17, which has been welcomed by the State’s peak industry body, Tourism Council WA.

In the Budget, spending on tourism marketing and events for 2016-17 has been maintained at around $75 million, and additional funding of $1.2 million has been provided to Perth Convention Bureau. However, there is significant uncertainty regarding future funding for tourism, with $19 million added for events, but a $11.4 million decline in marketing and a further $6.2 million across-the-board cut applied from 2017-18 onward.

The key State Budget tourism outcomes are:

  • Marketing funding retained at $40.8 million in 2016-17, but estimated to decline by $11.4 million to $29.4 million by 2019-20 (excludes PCB funding);
  • Perth Convention Bureau funding increased by $1.2 million to $4.9 million in 2016-17 and increased by a further $0.5 million by 2019-20;
  • Events funding retained at $32 million in 2016-17, with $19 million committed for events held in the first 18 months at Perth Stadium, but no commitments yet for 2019-20.
  • A further $6.2 million cut to Tourism WA from 2017-18 to 2019-20 on top of the estimated cuts to funding for marketing.

“We are pleased the government hasn’t implemented cuts in 2016-17, despite tough Budget circumstances, and has provided good consistent funding for PCB into the future,” said Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall.

“The Budget also starts the events plan to activate the Stadium for the first 18 months, which will allow bidding on major sports and entertainment events to start now,” he said.

Unfortunately, the Budget gives no certainty on future marketing funding, with estimates still showing a 30 per cent cut by 2019-20. The Budget also implements a $6.2 million cut across events, marketing and destination development from 2017-18 to 2019-20.

“The brilliant one-off events boost to activate Perth Stadium is overshadowed by an estimated 30 per cent reduction of marketing and events funding by 2019-20 as well as the $6.2 million across-the-board cut,” Mr Hall said.

“The Budget does provide consistent future funding for Perth Convention Bureau – this is the sort of predictable funding the industry needs for tourism marketing and events.”

Mr Hall said today’s Budget would keep tourism steady in 2016-17 with a huge opportunity to use Stadium events to grow tourism jobs in 2018.

“Estimated cuts to marketing beyond 2016-17 could reduce the number of jobs created through the investment in events,” he said.

“With no cuts in 2016-17, the Budget gives the Premier plenty of room to drive tourism growth by announcing consistent marketing and events funding for the next term of government.”