BCEC Report

Go Your Own WA: Recovery and regeneration for the tourism industry in Western Australia

Report SeriesFocus on Industry
PublishedMarch 2023
PublisherBankwest Curtin Economics Centre
Number of Pages132

The seventh report in the BCEC Focus on Industry report series, Go Your Own Way: Recovery and regeneration for the tourism industry in Western Australia, examines the dynamics of the tourism industry before and after the COVID-19 crisis and outlines the road to recovery for the sector in Western Australia.

The report finds that Western Australia’s tourism industry continues to bounce back from a pandemic-induced slump, but that the industry still faces many challenges, including realising the potential of cultural tourism, re-engagement with the important Chinese market and workforce shortages in regional tourism areas.

Key findings:

  • Domestic travel accounted for 97.1 per cent of overall trips in WA (97.5% for Australia) and accounts for 82.5 per cent of overall tourism expenditure (76.8% for Australia) in 2018-19.
  • In 2020-21, WA’s domestic tourism expenditure was down 13.7% on 2018-19. This compares well to other states, with a decline of 46.8% for Victoria, 21.3% for NSW, and 21.9% for QLD over the same period.
  • There were 8.6 million visitor trips to Australia in 2018-19 with 973,800 trips to WA, a peak year both nationally and for the state. Total tourism spending by international visitors to WA equalled $2.63B in 2018-19, some 7.4% of the overall national tourism related expenditure ($35.4B).
  • International visits from China to WA increased by a massive 228% between 2010-11 and 2018-19. Meanwhile, they grew by “just” 180% nationally.
  • The value-added contribution of the tourism industry to the Australian economy was $60B for 2020-21. This is half of that reported in 2018-19 ($121B).
  • The WA tourism industry contributed $12B to the WA economy in 2018-19 but as of 2020-21 was 45% below that level, sitting at $6.7B.
  • WA lost close to 45% of tourism related GVA due to a decline in direct tourism activities between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
  • Perth (-54.5%) and the Northwest (-43.3%) were more affected by the WA border closure.
  • In WA, the number of working holiday visa holders has been steadily declining since 2012-13 aligning with the end of the mining boom.
  • On average, a 50 per cent increase in worldwide internet search intensity about travel to WA will lead to an increase of around 130,000 visitors in the following year.

Produced in collaboration with Curtin’s Tourism Research Cluster.