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Tourism

Pentecost river crossing, Gibb River Road

Photo: Pentecost river crossing, Gibb River Road

Tourism is one of the Kimberley’s iconic industries, yet visitation statistics can be difficult to quantify due to the far-reaching nature of expenditure by visitors. We recommend that interpretation of visitation statistics be done in conjunction with other information sources such as Australian Bureau of Statistics, feedback from local operators, and information from local Visitor Centres.

According to Tourism WA, for the past 10 years over 50% of visitors to the region are domestic from within Australia, with the international market showing expanding potential. Top international markets to the region include Germany,  United States of America and the United Kingdom. Among all domestic and international visitors to the region, more than 50% are drawn to the Kimberley for holiday or leisure. Tourism WA produced an Overnight Visitor Fact sheet for the Kimberley Region, which provided an in-depth look at visitation to Western Australia’s Regional Development Commission areas based on the last three calendar years (2016/17/18). The chart below shows a Kimberley annual average (2016/17/18) overnight visitor breakdown numbers.

A number of initiatives have also been implemented in the region to further stimulate tourism and support the local economy. In Mid-2018, Singapore Airline’s regional off-shoot, SilkAir, launched the first of four trial services into Broome International Airport, making it the first international flight for the area in almost two decades and contributing to the exposure of the Kimberley region to the Asian market.

Photo: About 80 passengers travelled on the first of four trial flights between Singapore and Broome in May 2018. ABC Kimberley.

The month of May 2019 saw a series of milestones for the tourism sector in the Kimberley, from the extension of a discount fare trial Perth-Broome starting from $179 one way until August 2020 to the announcement of direct flights Kununurra-Melbourne to commence in May 2020. Further, in a code-share arrangement with Virgin Australia, Alliance Airlines is set to begin a series of direct flights (minimum 40) between Melbourne and Kununurra, the eastern gateway to the Kimberley, from 2020. The flights will commence in May 2020, to complement the start of the tourism season in Kununurra, including the 20th anniversary of the annual Ord Valley Muster.

More affordable fares, coupled with the opening of Kununurra as the eastern gateway to the Kimberley and new attractions such as the Broome’s Roebuck Bay Lookout in Broome, indicate increasingly positive prospects for the tourism sector in the Kimberley, with more people able to experience  the region’s iconic attractions such as camel rides along the beach, spectacular sunsets, Purnululu National Park to mention a few.

Roebuck Bay Lookout in Broome

Photo: View from the Roebuck Bay Lookout, officially opened for visitors in May 2019

Other Key tourism metrics for 2018 are displayed below.  

2018 Key Tourism Metrics

wdt_ID Local Government Area Visitors ('000) Average spend per night ($) Average stay (nights)
1 Broome International 34 64 11
2 Broome Domestic 236 228 6
3 Wyndham-East Kimberley International 13 69 11
4 Wyndham-East Kimberley Domestic 110 178 6
5 Derby-West Kimberley International 10 64 11
6 Derby-West Kimberley Domestic 93 74 6
7 Halls Creek International 7 91 3
8 Halls Creek Domestic 54 204 3

Source: Austrade, Tourism Research Australia (released in August 2019).
* 2018 data is based on a four year average from 2015 to 2018. 

Page last updated: Thu Aug 15 2019 8:58:12 AM

Contact Us

Don't hesitate to call the Kimberley Development Commission with any queries or comments.

Send an Enquiry

7 Ebony Street (PO Box 620)
Kununurra Western Australia 6743

T: +61 8 9148 2100

Upstairs: Cnr Napier & Dampier Terrace (PO Box 172)
Broome, Western Australia 6725

T: +61 8 9194 3000

Derby Western Australia 6728

T: +61 8 9194 3000 (Broome)

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