Taylor Burrell Barnett

Regional Tourism: The Value of the Place


Rachel Chapman

29 Oct 2020

Regional Tourism: The Value of the Place and the Experiences

The State’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects on the WA economy will continue to be felt for quite some time.

With hard border closures in place, many West Australian’s are taking this opportunity to explore their own backyards and support the small business and local tourism industry in our regional areas. This has been seen in new tourism data released by Tourism Research Australia, which revealed that whilst WA recorded a drop in domestic tourists, this was the lowest decrease nationally.

Many interstate workers forced to remain in WA are opting to move their families across to the state. But a silver lining of the restricted movement is that it has created opportunities for the beauty and uniqueness of WA to be showcased to interstate residents and allowed workers to create a suitable work-life balance.

WA’s visitor markets traditionally include a mix of intrastate, interstate and international visitors, however in order to harness and capture the economic potential from tourism, businesses have had to adapt to the domestic “drive market” and diversify their offering. Sectors that would otherwise rely upon a workforce of international travellers and backpackers have had the challenge of focussing their attention on attracting locally-based employment.

The State Government has invested significantly through key initiatives such as the $14.4M State Government Tourism Recovery Program, the $116M Regional Land Booster package through DevelopmentWA and the State Government and Tourism WA’s ‘Wander Out Yonder’ campaign to support and enhance tourism in WA. The recovery program has provided funding to projects such as the Dampier Peninsula Camping with Custodians program and the Middleton Beach Foreshore for the completion of the upgrade, projects of which TBB has an intimate understanding and heavy involvement with.

...beauty and uniqueness of WA to be showcased

In support of the State Government’s heavy investment, planning is critical for economic recovery. Whilst placemaking and the shaping of exceptional places is not a new concept, it has become more relevant during these unprecedented times. There needs to be a stronger commitment towards understanding the community to create places and experiences that strengthen local economic activity and amenity. Government, industry and the community has had to be reactive in order to drive investment in regional WA, boost the economy, create regional jobs and assist regional business. There has been no better time than now to appreciate the unique qualities that WA has to offer.

This notion is well understood by TBB through our role as lead consultant on revitalisation projects for key regional towns such as Bunbury, Geraldton, Exmouth, Port Hedland, Dampier and most recently our involvement in the preparation of the Economic Development and Tourism Strategy for the Shire of East Pilbara which includes Newman, Marble Bar and Nullagine.

TBB has a proud track record over the last 50 years’ in place shaping and planning strategically for communities to thrive and people to belong. Our holistic approach to planning centres around people, place and prosperity and leads to the identification of ‘quick wins’ to gain momentum and confidence and identifies longer term investment and revitalisation opportunities which support sustainable outcomes and longevity for key regional centres and activity nodes.

Please give us a call on (08) 9226 4276 if you’d like to discuss our regional planning work and exchange ideas on potential opportunities for regional revitalisation.


Rachel Chapman