Tourism Western Australia has joined the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers as an associate member to help showcase the destination to UK travel agents.
The tourist board plans a host of activities this year to promote the destination, including fam trips and a live roadshow with trade partners to support the restart of international tourism to Western Australia.
In February, an incentive with Qantas will encourage agents to complete the Western Australia Aussie specialist module. Participants will be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of return, non-stop Qantas flights to Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
Carolyn Turnbull, Tourism Western Australia’s managing director, said: “Everyone knows how challenging the past two years have been for travel agents, but we have remained dedicated in keeping agents up to date on the latest developments, training more than 1,500 agents during the pandemic.
“And our commitment will continue as we move forward in 2022.
“I would like to sincerely thank UK travel agents for the role they have played in continuing to support travel to Western Australia and keeping it at the top of UK travellers’ minds as a destination of choice for when our international borders open.”
She also highlighted how the touring and adventure travel sector is important to Western Australia, saying: “Visitors travelling into the gateway city of Perth can experience adventure with day trips to locations such Shoalwater Marine Park where you have an array of wildlife from penguins to dolphins.
“The regions offer contrasting landscapes, from pink lakes to red rocks and white sand beaches, not forgetting the towering, lush green southern forests.”
Activities include 4WD drives across the wilderness of the Kimberley region and marine encounters with humpback whales, manta rays, and whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef.
Agents can also learn about new experiences such as the Matagarup Bridge zip-line, over Perth’s Swan River, and Barn Hives luxury eco-pods.
Turnbull said interest in Western Australia had grown significantly before the pandemic, with British holidaymaker numbers growing faster than the average rate across Australia.
In 2019, an estimated 141,600 visitors from the UK came to Western Australia, making it the state’s largest international market for visitors.
“We focus our marketing activities on targeting ‘high value travellers’ from the UK,” she added.
“These are people who don’t mind long-haul travel and who enjoy nature, wildlife, aquatic, coastal and food and wine experiences – everything we have to offer here in Western Australia.
“UK visitors usually have an above-average trip expenditure, and a higher likelihood to stay in Western Australia longer and travel to the regions.”
She said several recent surveys have highlighted how travellers are now looking to take “once in a lifetime” trips and get closer to nature.
“Western Australia naturally lends itself to all of these in almost every direction from the Perth gateway,” she added.
“We know there is enormous pent-up demand for travel and particularly those unique travel experiences that only Western Australia can offer – authentic, memorable opportunities to experience natural wonders and world-class events that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
“I’m really looking forward to working with the wider Tourism Western Australia team and our industry partners to make tourism in our state a more sustainable, stronger industry than ever before.
“We have been working hard behind the scenes creating assets for our international teams to share with their trade distribution partners and promoting content on our social channels.
“Our message reflects on the unique adventures in Western Australia, and we encourage people to find out more and plan their holiday to our stunning state and indulge in our wide-open spaces.”
Claire Brighton, Atas account director, commented: “I am delighted to welcome Tourism Western Australia as an associate member of Atas. The destination offers so much to travellers in the touring and adventure sector, and the tourist board is dedicated to supporting UK travel agents as the state opens up again.”
Last week, the planned reopening of Western Australia was suspended to allow residents to get booster vaccinations, as the Omicron variant of Covid spreads on the country’s east coast.
It had been hoped that double-vaccinated interstate and international travellers would be allowed to enter Western Australia without quarantine, from February 5.
Main picture: Charles Knife Gorge, Cape Range National Park, Western Australia