Tourism Western Australia mounts biggest-ever charm offensive to lure Asians

Western Australia’s tourism minister Paul Papalia with Dynasty Travel's Alicia Seah

Tourism Western Australia (TWA) has unveiled a A$12 million (US$8.4 million) international marketing offensive that will see the state intensify its promotional efforts in the region’s key markets over the next 13 months to nurture growing tourism traffic from Asia.

In Singapore, a new marketing campaign between Western Australia and travel agency Dynasty Travel, was unveiled yesterday. The Singapore campaign will see the interior of four carriages on the North East Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train line, as well as Serangoon MRT station, covered in high-impact images – such as Rottnest’s quokkas – depicting Western Australia locations.

TWA also signed a three-year global cooperative marketing agreement with Singapore Airlines (SIA) yesterday afternoon to jointly promote travel to Western Australia in 10 key international markets such as India, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.

The A$5 million agreement, jointly funded by TWA and SIA, will include advertising promotional airfares and travel packages to Western Australia through digital, print and TV channels.

Western Australia’s tourism minister Paul Papalia said at a press conference yesterday that this latest effort was the “biggest international marketing push in the state’s history”, as growing the tourism sector is part of the plan to “boost the economy, create jobs and develop business opportunities”.

He added: “One in four Singaporeans who travel to Australia go to Western Australia. I’d like to see that grow. We already have 10,000 Singaporeans visiting Western Australia annually, but I do believe there’s an opportunity to grow that significantly.”

Papalia further shared that the immediate target is to achieve more than 11,000 Singaporean visitors by next year with this latest push, with the eventual aim that one day Singaporean visitors will hit 15,000 annually – equivalent to the number of visitors from the UK, Western Australia’s top inbound market.

Moreover, Singaporeans have also been revealed as the state’s second biggest spending tourists, recently jumping to the second position behind China at A$265 million in the 12 months to March 2019, a year-on-year increase of 21.6 per cent.

As such, Western Australia has developed new products that Papalia believes Singaporeans would appreciate. For instance, the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, a glamping eco-resort on Rottnest Island, and an A$800 million redevelopment of the Museum of Western Australia (opening in 2020) are some of the state’s newest offerings.

“There are a lot of regional destinations in Western Australia that people don’t know about, such as Esperence with its Pink Lake and the (historic city of) Albany. You can actually drive to these locations, and Singaporeans are very comfortable with driving around,” he mused.

The state government is also working to increase visitors from elsewhere in the region, with the Western Australia delegation travelling to Malaysia today (Tuesday) to meet with key partners and travel agents. The number of Malaysians visiting Western Australia currently stands at 11,000.

In addition, Western Australia will be unveiling its first Muslim visitor guide in Bahasa Melayu specifically for the Malaysian market, created with the help of a local influencer. Aside from attractions and itineraries, the guide offers information on prayer spots, mosques and halal cuisine.

When asked about other Muslim markets from the region such as Indonesia, Papalia lamented that while the market is in the top 10 and they would like to “of course” grow it, but costly visas for Indonesians to Australia is hampering the market’s upward trajectory.

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