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Positive prospects for Tourism in the Kimberley

May 27, 2019

Roebuck Bay Lookout in Broome

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

On 23 May 2019, Tourism WA released their visitor factsheets updated with 2018 data for WA regions, including the Kimberley. The factsheets are based on Tourism Research Australia’s National and International Visitor Surveys and report on annual average visitation based on the last three calendar years (2016-2018) to improve reliability of estimates. They provide the ability to track regional performance and provide insight into the profile of visitors coming to the Kimberley region, their age, why they are visiting and the choices they make.

The Kimberley had a total of 412,700 average overnight visitors for years 2016/17/18. Among all domestic and international visitors to the region, more than 50% are drawn to the Kimberley for holiday or leisure, with 47% of domestic visitors opting to stay at hotels, resorts, motels or motor inns. The demographic profile for domestic visitors is evenly distributed, with those between 20 and 34 years of age representing 33% of all domestic visitors, followed by 24% in the bracket 35-49 years of age and 35% in the 60-64 years of age bracket.

The period 2016/17/18 shows that the average annual intrastate overnight visitor numbers was 255,300, pointing to growth of approximately 8.7% in relation to average years 2015/16/17 (234,800 visitors). This indicates that efforts directed at regional tourism based on this market could be starting to pay dividends for the region. The chart below shows the annual average (2016/17/18) overnight visitor breakdown numbers for the Kimberley.

The month of May 2019 also 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 to the announcement of direct flights Kununurra-Melbourne to commence in May 2020.

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, and Purnululu National Park to mention a few.

Further information on the Kimberley 2018 Visitor factsheet is available on Tourism WA website.