The Nationals WA have launched a new campaign calling on the McGowan Government to broaden its tourism strategy and incentivise flights to all regional areas instead of just focusing on Broome.
Tourism spokesperson Vince Catania said the Government had simply picked the low-hanging fruit by offering discounted fares on flights between Perth and Broome.
He said the new Nationals’ campaign – “Where the bloody hell are you, Labor?” – included an online petition and called on the Government to promote all of Western Australia.
“Cheap flights to Broome are great but the rest of our towns and regions are justifiably asking ‘what about us’ and ‘where the bloody hell is our support’,” Mr Catania said.
“Anyone who has traversed the gorges at Karijini, frolicked with dolphins at Monkey Mia or pat a kangaroo at Lucky Bay understands that regional Western Australia is the jewel in our State’s tourism crown.
“If you have ever sipped on a Margaret River cab sav, snorkelled at the Abrolhos, stared up a giant tingle tree or let the Super Pit take your breath away then you definitely know.
“Yet under Mark McGowan and the current Labor Government our regional tourism markets and operators are being shunned. This is hurting regional economies and costing jobs.”
Mr Catania said the Premier and the Tourism Minister were infatuated with quokka selfies and that their “game changing” strategy was to offer cheap Perth hotel rooms.
“It’s clear the McGowan Government wants interstate and international visitors to stay in Perth at the expense of the regions,” he said.
“The WA Labor Government seems to think they have ticked the regional tourism box by doing a secret and un-costed deal with Qantas to subsidise cheap airfares to Broome.
“Regional centres such as Busselton, Carnarvon, Exmouth, Karratha, Port Hedland, Kununurra, Esperance, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Paraburdoo, Shark Bay and Geraldton and many others are the destinations which set our State apart from the rest. They drive our tourism economy, not cheap Perth hotels.
“Our marine parks, World Heritage-listed sites, karri forests, coral reefs, thousands of kilometres of pristine, untouched coastline and protected species all reside in regional WA.
“Mark McGowan and his Government must stop neglecting our regional tourism hotspots and redirect funding support to the regional destinations which make WA truly unique.
“Sign our petition and send a message to the Premier that enough is enough.”