City to focus on growing Mandurah’s tourism sector only

Mayor Rhys Williams with Sharryn Platt at Mandurah Visitors Centre.
Mayor Rhys Williams with Sharryn Platt at Mandurah Visitors Centre.

THE expertise and resources of Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) will in future focus on Mandurah’s growing tourism sector only.

In a Notice of Motion to last night’s City of Mandurah council meeting, Mayor Rhys Williams said recent consumer research revealed the major emphasis needed to be on building Mandurah’s reputation rather than the broader Peel Region.

The proposal was unanimously supported.

He said Mandurah’s long history as a tourist destination was also part of its future story.

“We are overwhelmingly the biggest contributor to MAPTO and the council wants to ensure ratepayers’ money is being used to build Mandurah’s destination as a place of cultural enrichment, diversity and adventure,” he said.

“This step will allow us to better tell our story.”

Current funding arrangements with MAPTO will cease on August 31 with a new four-year agreement starting on September 1.

The new agreement will focus exclusively on development of Mandurah’s visitor economy, along with product development, investment attraction and destination branding.

“Since its inception, MAPTO has made considerable progress in promoting Mandurah and the Peel Region as a tourist destination,’’ Mr Williams said.

MAPTO chief executive Karen Priest said MAPTO was looking forward to the new opportunities the agreement would bring.

“Recent consumer research revealed Mandurah was the sole Peel destination mentioned by respondents on an unprompted basis as a WA short break venue,’’ she said.

“This agreement will allow MAPTO to capitalise and build on that knowledge and clear branding for the city.

“A part of the story will continue to be the diversity of quality visitor attractions in the Peel region and with an increase in the promotion of Mandurah, a natural flow-on effect will be more visitors looking for activities and attractions within a short drive of the city.”

Murray shire president David Bolt said the council had enjoyed a productive relationship with MAPTO and valued their expertise and assistance.

“We continue to enjoy a close cooperative relationship with the City of Mandurah with projects such as the Mandurah Murray Economic Development Strategy and we see continuing opportunities to collectively develop tourism products and campaigns that would encourage visitors to stay within the broader region for extended periods of time,’’ he said.

“While Mandurah offers exceptional experiences in terms of its city, beaches and waterways, Murray’s equally wonderful waterways as well as its environment and heritage offerings, are complementary in terms of tourism engagement and holistic experiences.

“While the shire had budgeted to continue its funding support for MAPTO, this announcements gives cause for us to review how best to proceed in managing our tourism market budget.”

Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire president Michelle Rich said that while disappointing, the shire understood the need for the City of Mandurah to better define itself as a tourist destination.

“In recent year, the Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale has been incredibly successful in attracting growing visitor numbers and capitalising on the benefits this has brought to local tourism businesses and the wider community.

“This decision will have little impact on how we go about promoting the shire as an emerging tourism destination and we remain focused on building the Shire’s connection with the Perth Hills under the banner of Food, Fun and Forest.

“While we still believe in the benefits of a regional tourism strategy, we will review our contributions in this area to ensure they deliver value to our residents.”