Tourism plan questioned

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City of Rockingham administration building.
Camera IconCity of Rockingham administration building. Credit: WA News

The City of Rockingham should work to differentiate itself from other metropolitan areas with its tourism offerings, working to promote eco-tourism, and act to attract visitors from Asian markets, particularly China, says Cr Lee Downham.

In last week’s council meeting, the City’s Draft Tourism Destination Strategy was considered by councillors.

The strategy, which is set to guide tourism over the next five years, establishes the City’s strategic direction and priorities for marketing the region to tourists.

It identifies and prioritises five elements: destination marketing, visitor servicing, coastal development and activation, events activation and mid-tier MICE attraction (meetings, incentives, conferences and events).

However, Cr Downham was scathing in his assessment of the strategy, calling it “narrow and weak”.

Listing several natural tourism attractions in the area, Cr Downham said the differentiation in the City of Rockingham’s tourism offering was eco-tourism, and he questioned why this was not being leveraged.

Statistics from the Rockingham Visitor Centre’s website shows that the top five countries of origin of people visiting its website over the past few months had been from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia.

With the rise of Chinese and Indian tourists to the area, Cr Downham questioned why these markets were not being actively pursued and targeted more.

City of Rockingham Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin said the Tourist Destination Strategy would be central to the success of boosting tourism in Rockingham and that the strategy outlined a “robust” plan of action that would empower the City to take advantage of these assets and become WA’s premier coastal destination.

The draft Tourist Destination Strategy will be open for public comment until Thursday, April 25.

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