Report puts focus on Asian tourism growth

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Mark Exeter from the SWDC, report lead author Michael Volgger and Catrin Allsop from Australia’s South West celebrate the report launch.
Camera IconMark Exeter from the SWDC, report lead author Michael Volgger and Catrin Allsop from Australia’s South West celebrate the report launch.

Nearly 100 South West tourism industry representatives attended the launch of a tourism report on Tuesday, in the hope of attracting more Asian tourists to the region.

Industry development officer Mark Exeter said the region relied too heavily on the domestic market and needed to expand its horizons.

“Places like Singapore and Malaysia are our largest growth markets for the South West region...we need to grow the international market,” he said.

He said the recommendations revealed in the South West for Asia report equipped tourism providers with practical advice.

“I was listening to the discussions which were happening around me and people were really excited because this was actually giving them some tools to guide into their own businesses to attract more business from Asia to the region,” he said.

“It really highlighted that Asian visitors are looking more for an experience rather than simply buying a hotel room or booking in a tour.

“We really need to package up what we have got, so packaging up for instance wineries, restaurants, tours and accommodation, which was one of the key messages.”

Offering “experiential” tourism was also high on the list for Asian tourists, such as meeting the families and winemakers behind Bunbury Geographe’s many wineries.

“One example was we have some great wines in the region... they are looking to actually meet the family, the person who maybe planted the vines many years ago,” he said.

“They want to hear how they actually make the wines, meet the wine maker and have that personal experience is really important and something we need to focus more on.”

Nature tourism was also a priority, with Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre — which is set to reopen in December — mentioned as a highly rated experience.

Mr Exeter said thought should also be given to offering native bush tucker as well as foods which could be gathered, caught and cooked.

“We really encourage tourism operators and tourism suppliers to download the report, have a read and look for areas of relevant to their own business,” he said.

Visit bcec.edu.au to view the report.

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