Lower fares pump rise in visit numbers

Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
Camel rides on Cable Beach are a population tourist attraction in town.
Camera IconCamel rides on Cable Beach are a population tourist attraction in town. Credit: Tourism Western Australia

The number of holidaymakers picking Broome as their getaway destination has continued to surge, with leisure traveller figures already on the up from last year.

Statistics collected by Broome International Airport show that 124,000 people had been processed through the terminal in the first quarter of 2019-20, increasing from 116,500 in the same period the year prior.

It comes just months after the airport reported an overall growth of 20,000 passengers for the 2018-19 financial year.

BIA chief executive Paul McSweeney said big reductions in the cost of flying to the town had been a driver of the significant increase.

The WA Government teamed up with Qantas to roll out cheaper fares on its Perth to Broome return route, offering seats for as low as $179 one-way when booked at least 45 days in advance on certain legs.

The bid aimed to redirect Perth travellers to Broome instead of Bali and sparked a series of low airfares from rival company Virgin Airlines.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said more than 26,000 travellers had taken advantage of the special fares since it launched 15 months ago.

“We are committed to encouraging more people to travel to our regions and spend their money supporting the local hotels, tour operators, bars and restaurants, which grows the economy and creates jobs,” he said.

“The affordable airfares provide a great opportunity for visitors to discover the area’s outstanding natural attractions.”

Mr McSweeney said the past financial year had proven that lowering the cost of flying to the Kimberley town has had an impact on overall visitor numbers.

Australia’s North West Tourism chief executive Natasha Mahar said the increase in leisure visits could also be attributed to creative marketing campaigns, the continuation of the Broome to Singapore return flights and the unique experiences offered by tourism operators.

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