Families, repeat travellers wanted in Western Australia’s Swan Valley

Wine and Art Off the Beaten Track

Keen to draw more repeat visitors as well as more family travellers from Singapore, a contingent of industry stakeholders – comprising government officials, tour operators and suppliers – from Swan Valley near Perth, Western Australia descended in Singapore last week for a media and industry outreach event.

Swan Valley Tourism Alliance’s spokesperson, John Rex, said: “We have so much to offer families in the valley, and we’ve got everything that Singaporeans want. (The reason we are here is because) we haven’t promoted ourselves strongly enough, and want to get our name out as a place to visit.”

For instance, families with younglings can visit the Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm, The House of Honey and Whistler’s Chocolate Co. Adults meanwhile, can imbibe cider from family-owned businesses like Funk Cidery, or taste complex muscats from John Kosovich Wines.

The B2B event in Singapore, dubbed Swan Valley Unearthed, was also timed to coincide with the release of five new tourist trails in the area: Fresh Seasonal Produce; Fine Wine; Wine and Art Off the Beaten Track; Kids in the Valley; and Bushtucker and Beyond. This is in addition to the Sweet Temptations, and Cider and Ale trails launched last year.

Rex further shared that Singaporean travellers have been steadily increasing over the years, and is the third highest feeder market for Swan Valley. He opined that this is because Singapore is only a five-hour flight away from Perth, with the Swan Valley located just 25 minutes from Perth’s city centre.

Co-owner of d’Vine Wine Tours, Breana Lawrie, agreed: “We saw the Swan Valley was a relatively untapped destination, in terms of what’s already out there, for example Margaret River. That is why we started the company six years ago, out of love for Swan Valley, and its wine of course.”

She shared with TTG Asia that from the Asian region, her top clients were mainly Singapore leisure tourists comprising a mix of couples and families.

“Perth has a lot of Singaporean students, and we want to capture their families. Rather than the students flying home, we want their friends and family to fly down to Perth instead,” noted David Lucas, mayor of the City of Swan.

“Repeat customers are very important, especially for the Singapore market. If we can get another 20 per cent (more Singaporean travellers) in the next 12 months, then we’ll be very happy,” he said.

On whether such regional destinations will be a hit with the Singaporean market, Clifford Neo, president & CEO, Dynasty Travel, opined: “Singaporeans are very well-travelled, and have already been to main cities. Nowadays, travel to regional destinations like Swan Valley will appeal to repeat travellers, and the more adventurous travellers.”

His view is supported by Scott Walker, Tourism Australia’s country manager for Singapore & Indonesia, who shared with TTG Asia: “A staggering 86 per cent of Singaporeans who visit Australia are repeat visitors. We’re now in the business of attracting repeat travellers from Singapore, (as compared to other markets in the region).”

Singaporean travellers to Western Australia in 2018 were up 20 per cent as compared to 2017, and are the second top Asian source market for the state. In addition, Singaporeans to Western Australia spent more than any other nationality, at A$50 (US$37) more per day per person.

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