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Photo: Yinjibarndi artists Jane Cheedy, Wayne Stevens (to the left) and Pansy Cheedy (to the right) show Guy Taylor and Tourism WA managing director Brodie a Marrga figure created by the artists of Juluwarlu for the Victoria Hotel cultural display in Roebourne.
Tourism operators from across the Pilbara recently had opportunity to share their thoughts on what makes WA unique, as part of a new campaign being developed by the State's tourism body.
On 25 February, the Pilbara Development Commission hosted Tourism WA Managing Director Brodie Carr and consultant Guy Taylor on a whistle-stop tour taking in the Dampier Archipelago, Roebourne’s newly refurbished Victoria Hotel, the historic town of Cossack and stunning Deep Gorge in the Murujuga National Park.
The day-long visit also included a workshop where tourism operators spoke in person and by video-conference to Mr Carr and Mr Taylor.
Those taking up the offer included Barry Harrison from The Ranges, Clinton Walker of Ngurrangga Tours, representatives from the Murujuga and Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporations, representatives from the Department of Biodiversity and Conservation and Natalie Callanan from Pilbara Dive and Tours, among others.
Mr Taylor, a tourism marketing guru with extensive experience, is credited with helping to boost Tasmania’s visitor appeal in recent years.
He is leading a six-month project to identify how to positively differentiate WA from other tourism destinations.
Mr Carr said Tourism WA was delighted to have Mr Taylor's help in developing an exciting and unique way to sell WA to the world.
“To kick start this journey, we realised it was really important to get out to the regions and talk to the people at the heart of our industry about what’s been working to bring tourists to WA and also the areas where we need to improve," Mr Carr said.
“We’ve appreciated the honest and thoughtful conversations and feedback we’ve had so far. We’ve heard from people who are genuinely passionate about their patch of WA.
“It’s this authenticity that we’re wanting to tap into to make our marketing stand out from the pack.
“We’re confident that with Guy’s assistance and the support and insights of industry operators behind us, we can create something that puts WA firmly front of mind for people choosing a holiday destination.”
Pilbara Development Commission Acting Chief Executive Officer Trish Barron said the Pilbara’s extraordinary attractions included outstanding natural landscapes, national parks, islands and cultural heritage.
"Our region already attracts more than 700,000 visitors to the region but there is potential to increase that number," Ms Barron said.
“Tourism currently injects around $362 million into the regional economy and it could be more.
“Eight months of the year, the Pilbara offers fantastic weather in which to see a part of Australia that both captivates and awes every visitor.
“A great advantage of a strong local tourism industry for the regional economy is that most tourism operators are local businesses who live locally, employ locally and buy locally."
“The Pilbara Development Commission is working with stakeholders to identify tourism development priorities for the region over the short and long term to expand the industry in the Pilbara and grow local business and jobs.”