Recreational Business Proposals

The Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) is inviting firms and organisations to provide selected recreational activities on Rottnest Island.

Organisations can apply in their own right or can partner with other organisations to provide a range of activities and services which are flexible, inclusive and responsive to the needs of Island visitors.

The following background information is provided to assist with business proposal concepts and submissions. To apply for any of the available business opportunities applicants are required to complete a business proposal application form and return to the RIA along with the additional documents requested.  Business proposals can be forwarded to the RIA by mail to PO Box 693 Fremantle 6959 or by email to

These guidelines apply to services that do not require a property lease and where a ‘concession agreement’ will normally apply. The leasing of property such as retail outlets is conducted through a separate process, and interested parties are directed to the RIA’s property agent, McGee’s Property whose details may be found at the following website:

Rottnest Island Visitors

Visitor numbers to Rottnest Island have been increasing over recent years as a result of dynamic promotional strategies and a focus on destination marketing.  During 2015-16 over 550,000 visits were made to Rottnest Island with over 90% of visitors being locals. 

To facilitate the viability of Rottnest Island as a tourist destination, the RIA considers it necessary to grow visitor numbers to 800,000 per annum by the year 2034 with a focus on growth in the off peak period to avoid increasing pressures on current facilities and the environment.  The RIA aims to achieve this, in part, by increasing the range and quality of visitor experiences.

The development of recreational activities on Rottnest Island will be based on visitor expectations and demand, and also sustainability, taking into account the Island’s environmental and heritage values.  The Island’s natural environment and rich heritage, including Aboriginal, colonial, maritime and military, offer significant business opportunities.

Market Research

A considerable amount of community consultation and market research has been carried out by the RIA over recent years, as well as ongoing surveys, to understand community values and needs and to keep abreast of tourism and other external trends.

Rottnest Island operates within the very competitive tourism market.  To ensure the Island remains competitive and relevant, it is necessary to provide high quality tourism products, experiences and services, taking account of a number of factors including environmental sensitivity and constraints, visitor capacity, visitor safety and providing a range of experiences suited to different needs.

Tourism trends and tourist attitudes are closely monitored and the RIA will respond to changing inbound tourism markets, changing demographics, interests and needs of the domestic market.  Achieving the right balance between visitor requirements and the conservation of Rottnest Island is the RIA’s primary goal.


No staff accommodation is available on Rottnest Island.  The business operator will be required to commute or hire holiday accommodation from either the RIA or other private operators. Staff will be required to commute to the Island by ferry on a daily basis.  A special commuter rate applies which is available from the two main ferry service providers.

Premises and Built Facilities

No commercial properties are currently available for recreational services on Rottnest Island.

Any requirements for storage facilities or any other infrastructure (e.g. fences and gates) will be required to be installed at the expense of the approved business operator.   Any built structures on the Island are subject to the RIA’s Development Planning Policy and Guidelines.


Rottnest Island is largely vehicle free and pedestrians, wildlife and cyclists generally have right of way.   Vehicles must not be brought onto the Island without the permission of the RIA. The RIA reserves the right to reject any or all applications to bring vehicles on to the Island. 

In the event that a vehicle is approved as part of the operation of a proposed business, it is an express provision of any licence agreement that there is no private use of any vehicle on the Island. A Rottnest Island driving permit must be obtained for all staff that are required to drive a vehicle on the Island.

The proponent will be responsible for all transportation to the Island of products/ goods/equipment associated with the business. 

The RIA does not operate transport services to the Island. However, a barge service operates from Fremantle to the Island on a daily basis and ferry operators may carry small items of freight.  All costs associated with carriage of freight are the operator’s responsibility.

Ferries and Barge Contact Details

Rottnest Express  9335 6406 (B-Shed, Victoria Quay Fremantle) or 9430 5844 (Northport Rous Head)

Rottnest Fast Ferries  9246 1039 (Hillarys Boat Harbour)

Pelagic (barging services) 9335 8444 (Mews Road, Fremantle)

Marine Facilities

There shall be no provision for moorings/pens associated with any licence offered unless such facility is critical to the safe operation of the proposed business. 

In the event that a mooring or pen facility is approved as part of the operation of a proposed business, it is an express provision of any licence agreement that there is no private use of any such provided facility.

Island Resources and Energy Conservation

Water and power are scarce resources on Rottnest Island.  Business proposals requiring significant access to and supply of these resources are likely to be considered less favourably by the selection panel. 

Successful proponents will be expected to actively commit to water and energy conservation with customers and ensure staff awareness of these issues through appropriate training.

Waste Minimisation

Effective waste management policies on Rottnest Island are critical to the future of the Island as a holiday destination and A-Class reserve.

Business proposals that produce minimal amounts of waste during their operations will be highly regarded.  Proposals should consider waste removal from the Island wherever possible.

Terms and Conditions

The following basic terms and conditions will apply for commercially based activities, and are generally not negotiable.  Other specific conditions will be negotiated and included in a ‘concession agreement’.

  • Business operators will be required to join and maintain membership of the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce.  Their contact details are:
  • The following fees and commercial terms will apply:
    • A 10% commission of gross sales revenue to be paid monthly.   A further commission will apply if the Rottnest Island Visitor Centre is used for ticket sales.
    • An annual $500 administration fee to cover items such as commercial agency management costs.
    • A one off fee for the preparation fee of concession agreement by the RIA’s commercial agent, which is currently $1,650 and subject to variation.
    • Other fees may apply such as commission on ticketing through the Visitor Centre, which will need to be negotiated.
  • Other items such as the duration of the concession agreement are negotiable and will be based on various criteria such as the level of investment required by the proposer.   A seasonal or one year trial period may be offered if there is some uncertainty about the viability of the service.
  • In terms of duration, concession agreements are anticipated to be in the order of three to five years. However, the first 12 months of the term may be viewed as a trial period for the approved licensee after which a review of the viability and suitability of the activity/service by the RIA will be conducted.

Important Notices and Disclaimers

  1. This is an invitation to put forward a proposal, not an offer, and nothing in this document creates a contractual or other legal obligation by the RIA to any proponent.  All proponents are strongly urged to seek professional advice and to make their own prudent commercial enquiries before proceeding. The RIA reserves the right not to accept submissions for business proposals which are not aligned with the strategic direction for Rottnest Island or any other reason that does not meet the Island’s needs.
  2. Once an operation start date has been agreed with a proponent, and they fail to commence by that date without reasonable grounds, such as factors outside their control, the RIA reserves the right to withdraw the approval with immediate notice.