Perth is finding its calling as a stopover city

Andrew Munro 13 July 2017 NEWS

WA stamp duty

The city is confidently riding through its tourism crossroads.

Despite having a great range of attractions to recommend it, Perth has struggled to find its place as a global tourist destination.

With Adelaide now stepping up international tourism, And Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland cities all being world famous in their own right, Perth's tourism and hospitality industry may need to take a different tack.

According to research by CAPA Centre for Aviation and CWT Solutions, Perth might be at a crossroads.

  • Aviation passenger numbers to Perth are gradually decreasing year-on-year, seeing a -0.09% drop in 2016 compared to the year before.
  • Available seats to Perth are decreasing faster, with a -2.8% drop in 2016 compared to 2015.

With mining travel dropping off Perth needs a new way to bring in the visitors. "As the shape of mining related travel changes and stabilises, the need to generate a renewed impetus for leisure and corporate travel becomes essential." says Peter Harbin, CAPA executive chairman.

Fortunately, this might be a rare case of "easier done than said," and Perth probably won't have to wait long. It might not be the most glamorous calling, but Perth is shaping up as a great stopover city.

The first regularly scheduled Australia - UK flight will be commencing in March 2018, flying from Perth, while Tigerair cracked open the budget market for Perth-Brisbane direct flights in June 2017.

Batik Air started offering direct Perth-Denpasar trips, and plenty of other eyes are also sizing up Western Australia's potential, with talk of daily Perth-Shanghai services, and direct flights to and from Japan.

What needs to happen first

A lot is hinging on the success of Qantas' direct London flights, and travellers converting to a Perth detour from their current Asia or Middle-East layovers. Analysts are optimistic, with Richard Johnson, Asia Pacific director of CWT Solutions Group saying it "has the potential to be a game changer. It wouldn't be surprising to see a good number of passengers... switching over to this route."

Harbin agreed, pointing out that "internationally, it [Perth] is proportionately the best connected city in Australia." A range of industries also seem to be getting on board. Despite Perth's slightly-more-than-enough hotel supply, there are additional properties in the pipeline still.

And why not? Winery tours, Penguin or Rottnest island day trips, visiting the Pinnacles and everything else you can do in Perth sounds like a stopover well spent.

Bill Bryson once called Perth "the most remote city on Earth," but even if that was once true, it won't be for much longer.

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