Visitor centres generate more than $116 million for WA

By September 26, 2015 September 29th, 2015 Industry News & Updates, Research & Statistics

Whether you’re looking for a map of the area, need help finding your accommodation or just want to know where the locals go for dinner, there’s no doubt that Western Australia’s visitor centres play a crucial role in informing and educating tourist about local areas and tourism products.

Tourism Research Australia (TRA)- in partnership with Tourism WA- contracted Metrix Consulting to research the effectiveness of visitor centres in Western Australia their impact on the visitor behaviour, and how their offering can be improved.  It also reveals the value of Western Australian visitor centres with about $116.65 million in 2014 generated in overnight visitor spend for the State’s economy.

Key findings from the research include information on:

  • Visitor centre use
  • Importance of visitor centres
  • Current performance of visitor centres
  • Opportunities that exist
  • Indicates centres influence visitors to stay longer and spend more

Tourism Minister Kim Hames said the research, commissioned by Tourism Research Australia and Tourism Western Australia, showed visitor centres continued to make a vital contribution to the tourism industry despite a trend towards booking and researching holidays online.

In recent years we have seen more people using the internet and other digital channels to research and book their holidays and this has had an impact on the financial sustainability of visitor centres,

Tourism Minister Kim Hames

This research shows that visitor centres have an important role to play in ensuring visitors have a good time during their stay in WA as well as imparting valuable local knowledge.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames

Figures show that 95 per cent of people using visitor centres believe they are an important part of their overall experience while 87 per cent said they knew more about things to do and see in a location.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames

The visitors surveyed attributed roughly 15 per cent of their total spend in a location to the visitor centre, so clearly these information sources are playing an important role in encouraging people to extend their stay or spend more money in a region.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames
importance of visitor centers
A brief summary of the findings:
Visitor centre use is not limited to particular visitor groups. Most stops at visitor centres are pre-planned. Tourists’ visitor centre usage is needs based. They are most likely to stop at a visitor centre when visiting a location for the first time; they have insufficient access to information before arrival; or they are staying more than one night. Three-quarters (75%) planned their stop at a visitor centre in advance. Visitor centres support local economies, improve the visitor experience for tourists and boost advocacy for the region.
The research shows a modest positive impact on length of stay and spend, particularly in more remote locations among users of visitor centres. Visitors also widely reported improvements in their knowledge, perceptions and experience in an area as a result of their visitor centre stop. Visitor centres are valued by tourists, particularly for the local knowledge that staff provide.
More than two-thirds of users spoke positively about the calibre of staff at visitor centres which contributed to a high rate of satisfaction with the visitor centre experience (94%). Results also indicated visitor centres are most valued when they go beyond providing maps and guide books to give additional local knowledge. This not only enhances the visitor experience, but also improves their recollection of the area.