The State Tourism Minister has pleaded ignorance over the growing trend of overseas accommodation booking platforms price gouging at the expense of accommodation providers’ reputation in the South West.
Member for Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman said booking platforms were dialing up the cost and taking a larger proportional cut of accommodation nights while providers only received a pre-set floor and no benefit from inflated pricing.
“The Minister denied any awareness of overseas platforms increasing prices without the knowledge of providers and his only advice was for anyone experiencing it to report it to Tourism Western Australia,” Mr Redman said.
“Not only did he deny knowledge of this practice, he refused to meet with booking platforms and demand a please explain, instead suggesting Tourism WA could report this disgraceful activity to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Mr Redman said in some cases booking platforms were jacking prices as much as 37 per cent, of which accommodation providers received not a dollar extra.
He added that the inference from a consumer perspective was that high prices were set by providers and reflected badly when visitors to the region reviewed the value of accommodation product paid for.
“The regional tourism industry is welcoming visitors and working hard to provide the best possible experience at the most reasonable value to people exploring our part of the world,” Mr Redman said.
“We have a lot to offer but inflated accommodation pricing as a result of online booking platforms taking advantage of providers, risks putting a dent in the reputation of our region and tourism industry.
“And the fact these platforms are based outside Australia and don’t pay tax in our country despite taking all the cream makes it all the more frustrating.
Mr Redman called on the Tourism Minister to start talking to people in the industry to get across his brief and stand up for South West tourism before it suffered reputational damage due to unethical overpricing by overseas online booking platforms.