Matthew Hughes MLA keen to get Hills tourism strategy right

Matthew Hughes out and about in the Hills community.
Matthew Hughes out and about in the Hills community.

MEMBER for Kalamunda Matthew Hughes MLA is chairing the working group examining the Pickering Brook and Surrounds Sustainability and Tourism Strategy.

“As the WA McGowan Labor Government works methodically to encourage the diversification of the WA economy, international, interstate and intrastate tourism is a significant element in that strategy,” Mr Hughes said.

“The Perth Hills has great potential to be part of the process with the promise of increased employment opportunities.

“We need the right, sustainable balance – none of us dwelling in Hills communities wants to become part of a contrived tourist ‘theme park’ where visitation numbers become overwhelmingly intrusive.

“But with careful management this need not be the case.

“We can maintain our Hills lifestyle while promoting the natural beauty of the Hills as a specific tourist destination and our local businesses and state’s economy can benefit as a result.”

On the doorstep of John Forrest National Park, this area of outstanding natural beauty less than an hour’s drive from the CBD could become as world renowned as Perth’s fabulous beaches, known as the best in Australia.

The work undertaken in recent months by WA Parks Foundation in conjunction with Parks and Wildlife, under the aegis of the Department of Conservation and Biodiversity, is improving the amenities available to visitors

Coupled to this is an attractive network of walking and riding trails across the Hills that provide rich recreation opportunities for all walks of life and contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community.

On a state-wide basis, the WA tourism industry has reason to celebrate with Tourism Research Australia’s latest data revealing the number of visitors and their total spend has again reached an all-time high.

According to the most recent National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS) results, WA had a record-breaking 2.76 million out-of-state (international and interstate) visitors last financial year.

The number of total overnight visitors in 2018-19 was 11.6 million people who, together with day-trippers, spent $10.5 billion in the state – an increase of 16.4 per cent on the previous year.

Of this, $4.9 billion (47 per cent) was spent in regional WA.

The number of overnight holiday visitors to WA reached 4.7 million, an increase of 16.5 per cent on the previous year.

International holiday visitors were the highest on record for WA, with the number increasing by 12.8 per cent to 506,300 – the strongest growth rate of all of states and territories.

International holiday spend was also the highest WA has ever seen, with an increase of 21.4 per cent to $844 million – well above the national average increase of 6.7 per cent in this sector.

The NVS results revealed WA had 1.8 million interstate visitors in 2018-19, an increase of 17.3 per cent on the previous year.

These visitors spent $1.77 billion, with both figures the highest on record.

Of those interstate visitors, 452,000 came to WA for a holiday – a 15 per cent increase on 2017-18 – and spent $715 million.

The NVS survey also showed growing numbers of West Australians are holidaying at home, with intrastate holiday trips increasing by 17.2 per cent to 3.7 million and corresponding spend up 27.7 per cent to $2.3 billion.