Western Australia (WA) has launched a $185 million marketing campaign to reconnect the state to the world once the state’s borders reopen, including incentives to woo back tourists and international students.
It came as Australia announced it would delay reopening borders until Dec. 15 in the wake of new Omicron cases.
Premier Mark McGowan said the state would further ease border restrictions around late January or early February once it achieves 90 percent of its population are fully vaccinated.
“The virtue of our careful and cautious approach means Western Australia now has a new brand of safety, stability and strength, and we will use that brand to market ourselves to the world,” he told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia event.
A $65 million aviation fund will go towards marketing the state to international students, international and interstate tourists, and tourism agents in a bid to tout WA as “one of the safest places in the world.”
A student attraction scheme will be in place to offer accommodation support to international students, while the government will also look to attract “blockbuster international events” to Perth.
“In addition, we will grow our campaigns to attract workers to WA with specific approaches for crucial public sector workers like health staff and secondary teachers; skilled workers for industry, and; backpackers for hospitality and agriculture,” McGowan said.
Having received pushbacks from airlines over its strict border regime, the WA government will spend another $65 million on re-establishing pre-COVID flight routes to Perth and targeting new direct flights to Germany, India, Vietnam and China.
There will also be $10 million for more intrastate flights.
The Reconnect WA package also includes $15 million to target the lucrative business events market to attract international conferences to Perth, an essential initiative to support CBD hotel occupancy as well as the hospitality industry.
This will include expanding the successful Stay and Play campaign, which offers discounts for those who stay in participating hotels, as well as vouchers for tours and experiences.
“Our management of the pandemic has been vindicated on health, social and economic grounds, and therefore the time has now come to look forward and plan for an exciting future,” McGowan said.
“There are many who will be shocked by the inevitable drop in business when our borders ease and Western Australians can travel abroad once more – contrary to what some people may expect,” McGowan said.
“So we must act now to attract the necessary visitors to fill the gap.”
Fly-in, fly-out mining workers, were among those required to be double jabbed by Wednesday under wide-reaching state government mandates, along with police, prison guards, care workers and firefighters.
About 1,000 people gathered outside parliament to protest the mandates.
A firm date is set to be announced after next Friday’s national cabinet meeting.