Tourism has been a major part of Mandurah’s identity for Western Australians for more than a century.
Increasingly though, we are attracting more visitors from key international markets like the United Kingdom and, in particular, South East Asia and China.
Research tells us these visitors value natural, uncrowded beauty and wildlife encounters.
To support these assets, we also need to have a number of export-ready tourism products to round out the experience and make the stay memorable and enjoyable for international visitors.
Mandurah and Peel Tourism Organisation (MAPTO) works hard to support the development of tourism product and it is pleasing to see the introduction of high-quality ventures such as the Wild Seafood Experience from Mandurah Cruises and the full day tour by ADAMS Pinnacles Tours to name just two.
The more there is to do, the longer people will stay – which is great for business.
Latest data shows a jump in the number of nights Asian visitors are spending in the region, up by more than 30,000 last year to nearly 276,000 nights.
Friends and family coming to visit the high UK population we have in the Peel region are staying longer too, increasing by more than 100,000 in the last two years.
In just the last two months alone, MAPTO has partnered with the Perth Convention Bureau and others to host a number of influential travel bloggers, media, agents and airline executives from China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to showcase the region.
To give just one example of how this activity pays dividends, a major Indonesian travel wholesaler we invited to visit has now added Mandurah to its itineraries, featuring Eco BBQ Boats and the thrombolites.
Through this relationship, MAPTO has been invited to Indonesia later this month, where I will train 175 travel agents in how to attract their clients to Mandurah and the Peel region.
We have introduced a Mandarin language page on our website and we also take part in a number of travel trade shows both in Australia and overseas.
Often, we work together with industry at these shows and I’m pleased that Mandurah Cruises and Westside Tours will be joining MAPTO at the Tourism WA Greater China Travel Mission in October.
A strong tourism sector has positive flow-on effects for the whole community at large.
It means more jobs and a healthier local economy, not just for the tourism industry, but for other services visitors use, which in turn benefits us all.
Karen Priest is MAPTO chief executive