There’s nothing better than hitting the road into our great open spaces, perhaps Western Australia’s greatest asset.
With younger people taking to caravans and campers, the rush for families and young couples to get away by road is on. Beep, beep! Move over grey nomads.
With the planet’s population explosion and crass commercialism, our vast open spaces and uniqueness to boost tourism numbers. If that’s what we want.
But our vastness is also a prohibitive barrier for many tourists; older, less-active people and disabled, disinclined and time-poor travellers.
Tourists will fly to Perth but what do we have to offer around our capital city and suburbs beyond the true-and-tested beaches, Kings Park, river, Fremantle, Rottnest, Swan Valley et al?
We have to cater more for short-term, Perth-centred tourists and their fat wallets and purses.
Japanese tourists surveyed after their few days in Perth said they wanted to buy more but shopping choices were limited.
Arabs reported bringing their wives – up to three at a time – and children for their annual family holidays but ran out of things to do for the kids. So, after three to four days in Perth, they headed to Queensland for their theme parks.
I tossed this around to a group of grey nomads who are always full of suggestions and many have owl-wise heads.
The consensus is that our uniqueness is our strength and our regions could be better-funded by the State – from tourism dollars – and offer tours and attractions that take in that region’s history, culture and offerings.
To have greater appeal, regions would have to be more skilled in their presentations, even to the extent of hiring professionals for advice on how to lift their games.
Even in our remotest, hottest and sparsely-populated regions, we have to put on a class act for tourists to spread the word and keep coming back.
The regions, with low population-bases, struggle with funding as we all know. But Royalties for Regions proved what’s available and what can be done.
Tourists want to be looked after, informed, entertained and even pampered. Of course, Australians need to retain their unique ocker appeal and good humour while serving visitors.
Indigenous groups in WA have come a long way in welcoming visitors to country and, representing our special people and unique place in the world, they deserve as much support as the State can supply.
Funding, of course, is always a mighty big issue, but the right conscious attitude and commitment will take us a long way. Many poor nations put on a smiling, welcoming face while accommodating, informing and entertaining hordes of outsiders.
Our regions keep making an effort, but many need to rely on volunteers to prepare and present their attractions with chicken-feed funding. A little more investment with free input from WA historical groups, State and regional libraries and knowledgeable locals, backed by strong commitment, goes a long way.
Most of all we need leadership.
I’ll compile a short list of ventures that would give Perth city a major tourism lift. What would you include?
Your thoughts and ideas are most welcome. Join the debate. Email: Info@haveagonews.com.au