TOURISM is the heart and soul of South West WA. We inhabit an incredible, beautiful corner of the world, rich and diverse in wildlife, landscapes, fabulous secret spots and not-so-secret but really awesome things to see and do.
However, some parts of the South West are better known than others – which means regions that get overlooked, like Bunbury-Geographe, need to work a bit harder for that tourist dollar. 89% of visitors to the South West region in the years 2015-17, averaged, are from within WA - which means that most tourism spend comes from people who may know the region, but not what to do other than the well-known icons.
So, if discretionary spend lessens in WA during a downturn, so does tourism spend in the South West. We need to do more to support local industry and keep the visitors who come here, longer, by 'paying it forward' and referring a visitor to town to a local spot to experience the hidden gems.
Our Business Advisor Susan Lee sees a bright future for tourism in the wider Bunbury Region, but she says the region needs to do something really different to survive the current downturn.
“One of the best ways tourism industries thrive around Australia is to cross sell regional products and experience,” Susan said. “But if you don’t know what’s around the corner, how can you sell it?”
Our first Industry Walkabout, which will be held at Maker & Co on September 18, aims to get industry people thinking creatively about how they might sell one of the businesses they’re learning about.
“The simple act of actively cross promoting tourism within your region makes an enormous difference,” Susan said.
“We know that tourists love local tips about something they didn’t see in the brochure, or that their agent didn’t tell them about. Once people have booked accommodation, they often ask about things to see and do. This event focuses on things to see and do, which is what gets people staying in towns longer instead of jumping in the car and heading elsewhere.
“Bunbury-Geographe is a great place for self-drive tourism - it’s about that destination, that experience. This is an economic approach to boosting the whole industry: Let’s get more destinations on the map en route to the popular places, slow people down, and get them enjoying the great things to do in Bunbury-Geographe.”