Trade war fallout a concern for tourism

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser
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Derby Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president Stewart Milne, Broome CCI chief executive Elaine Jolliffee and Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley president David Menzel at the Kimberley Economic Forum in Broome.
Camera IconDerby Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice-president Stewart Milne, Broome CCI chief executive Elaine Jolliffee and Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley president David Menzel at the Kimberley Economic Forum in Broome. Credit: Jakeb Waddell/Broome Advertiser

A trade war between the US and China could have a flow-on impact on tourism numbers to the Kimberley, according to one of the State’s leading economists.

Speaking at the Kimberley Economic Forum last week, WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist Rick Newnham informed attendees of the repercussions of US President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods, which the region would not be immune to.

Mr Newnham said the Asian market was crucial for the future of Kimberley tourism and a tariff would put financial pressure on potential visitors.

“The trade war is very closely linked to the Australian economy and this could include the Kimberley,” he said.

Mr Newnham said 88 per cent of the region’s tourism came from domestic visitors, which showed the reliance on this market but there was a huge amount of potential to tap into the Asian mar-ket.

“If the tariffs hit, there is a smaller piece of the pie to tap into in terms of the number of visitors you are attracting,” he said.

“This would then add pressure on how well you can attract visitors to the area.”

But Mr Newnham said the impact might not be entirely negative, with China’s threat to put a 25 per cent tariff on US LNG having the potential to make the Australian product more competitive.

He said this would lead to more investment in the State, especially the Kimberley, with Inpex producing LNG through the Ichthys Project in the Browse Basin, 425km north of the region.

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