Perth spurned by Eastern States
The perception of Perth as an ordinary, run-of-the-mill city could be the biggest obstacle to attracting more interstate tourists.
A unique perceptions survey for Tourism WA has found that many potential travellers from the Eastern States are reluctant to visit Perth because “it has nothing to offer that I can’t get in my home State”.
And while some survey participants perceived Perth people as relaxed, friendly and independent, others thought they were “a bit full of themselves” and “cashed-up bogans”.
The survey was conducted by international consultants TNS and the results have fed into a new WA marketing campaign to be launched in June.
The campaign is being created by Melbourne-based advertising company Cummins & Partners.
Managing director Tom Ward said many of the perceptions of Perth were clearly wrong. He said it was the quality and combination of experiences available in Perth that made it different from most other cities.
“That is why a major focus of our campaign is to try and bring out the personality of WA,” Mr Ward said.
“We will see WA through the eyes of an individual rather than through the lens of a tourism photographer.”
Interstate visitor numbers to WA grew 4.8 per cent last year, well below the growth in most other States, while interstate visitor spend fell 5.6 per cent from $1334 million to $1243 million.
The perceptions survey was based on forum groups in Eastern States cities and an online survey of about 500 residents in Melbourne and Sydney.
Among those who had visited Perth before, the highlights had been the weather, the beaches, the Swan River, Fremantle and Rottnest Island.
They had been surprised at how accessible many attractions were. “I can’t even think where I would go scuba diving within 30 minutes of Sydney,” one said.
For those who had not been to Perth before, it was the water activities (Rottnest, the beach, especially at sunset, a Swan River cruise), the wildlife (swimming with or seeing dolphins, the quokkas at Rottnest), the active pursuits (walking trails and riding on Rottnest) and the food and wine (Fremantle Markets, Swan Valley wineries) that were most appealing.
Barriers to holidaying in Perth were the costs of flights and accommodation and the time it took to get there.
The research also found that people from Melbourne were more likely to find Perth an appealing holiday destination than people from Sydney.
Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland said people from interstate recognised that Perth had great beaches but overall didn’t know much about what else it had to offer.