Mumbai: Western Australia (WA), Australia’s largest State and the second largest country sub-division in the world, is focused on destination marketing, committing AUD 425 million towards the same. WA is targeting tourism in a big way to strengthen its economy, till now focused heavily on minerals and petroleum commodities extraction and processing.

“We are committing AUD 425 million towards destination marketing,” said Paul Papalia, Minister for Tourism, Western Australia addressing the media in Mumbai recently. Most Indians who travel to Australia visit the Eastern seaboard. Sydney and Melbourne are favourite haunts with their iconic attractions and social scene. “We want to promote Western Australia with Perth as the point of entry,” reaffirms Papalia.

Papalia met Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha as well as six local airline companies in India to achieve a direct flight from India to Perth. WA has also expressed its willingness to support airline companies with generous funds for destination marketing along with Perth Airport Pty. Ltd. which will offer concessions on landing fee. “The time difference is just 2.5 hours and if we can secure a direct flight, business travel and MICE can explode,” says Papalia.

WA is setting up a marketing representation office soon in Mumbai where they already have a Western Australia Trade Office. A specialist dedicated to selling the destination is being appointed soon.

WA has signed a marketing deal with Thomas Cook for selling packages in India for the first cricket test to be played in the new Perth stadium in December between Australia and India. “I would be more than happy if the entire stadium is filled with Indian fans,” said the Minister emphasizing how important India is, as a source market, for WA.

Western Australia is the most authentic part of the continent steeped in culture, heritage and natural beauty. Northernmost is Kimberley consisting of the ancient, steep-sided mountain ranges of cut through with sandstone and limestone gorges, and steep ridges. Approximately 40 per cent of the region’s population is of Aboriginal descent.

The Ningaloo Coast is a UNESCO® World Heritage Site located in the North-West coastal region of WA. The distinctive Ningaloo Reef that fringes the Ningaloo Coast is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass. “It is as attractive as the Great Barrier Reef but here you can swim off the coast and snorkel,” reminded the Minister obviously referring to the over two-hour boat cruise one has to undertake to reach the Great Barrier Reef.

The world class gateway city of Perth has the most affordable high quality hotels across whole of Australia. “The Westin just opened; Ritz Carlton is being built. We also have many high quality boutique hotels like COMO The Treasury. A few Hilton brand hotels are opening soon.”

There are six major wine regions in WA and hence wine and food trails are aplenty. The 10-day WA Gourmet Escape has events planned in the Margaret River region and the Swan Valley on successive weekends in November.

The share of FTAs Western Australia is able to attract is not impressive, admits the Minister. He says we are targeting the ones who have already had their share of selfies in front of the Sydney Opera House.

Perth itself can be a 5-day vacation leaving one with lifetime experiences. Swan Valley, the only wine region in Australia within a metropolitan area; Rottnest Island (Rotto), to interact with the Quokka, made famous by tennis legend Roger Federer’s selfie; Penguin Island, Australia’s premier nature-based tourism destination where the star attraction is feeding the little penguin; Kings Park – War Memorial, Aboriginal Art Gallery and Botanical Garden; and last but not the least, Rockingham, to swim with wild dolphins.

Self-drive road trips are an incredible experience and perfectly safe in Western Australia. In fact, the terrain, climate and the natural beauty augur perfectly well for on-the-road holidays.

Categories: Experiences Travel

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