Shire of Esperance council appoints consultants to drive tourism strategy

Social media has helped put gorgeous local destinations such as Lucky Bay on the international tourism map. Photo: Australia's Golden Outback/ Jarrad Seng.
Social media has helped put gorgeous local destinations such as Lucky Bay on the international tourism map. Photo: Australia's Golden Outback/ Jarrad Seng.

The Shire of Esperance council has appointed international consultants TRC Tourism to develop a new strategy to guide long-term tourism growth in Esperance.

The tourism strategy aims to build on local industry strengths, seek solutions that benefit the community, drive visitation to the region and guide the development of infrastructure.

Tourism continues to be a booming industry for the region, however, local industry leaders have voiced the need for a collaborative approach to keep the visitor count high outside of peak season.

Tourism Research Australia found in 2019, international visitors to Esperance were up by 18 per cent at 26,000 and domestic visitors recorded a 16 per cent growth to 176,000.

Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott said Esperance was experiencing increasing attention from visitors each year.

"Developing ways to harness this growing sector is important for a diversified economy in Esperance," he said.

Tourism Esperance chairperson Wayne Halliday said the organisation had always advocated for the development of an action-focused strategy.

"Anyone living in Esperance over the last couple of years will have noticed the increased number of visitors we've been welcoming. This has provided economic benefits to the community beyond just the tourism and hospitality sectors," he said.

"However, it's vital that, together as a whole community, we develop a clear tourism strategy that guides the development of tourism in Esperance."

Mr Halliday said it was important to create world-class experiences for future visitors.

"A future that continues to celebrate our indigenous culture, our produce, our artisans, our maritime and agricultural history," he said.

"All this, whilst being mindful of protecting our magnificent natural-environment assets. It's an exciting time for our community."

Australia's Golden Outback chief executive officer Marcus Falconer said TRC was a renowned international consultant.

"We're confident that they will provide a great impetus to lead Esperance's tourism development towards a truly world-class destination with a community-based vision shared by the tourism sector and Esperance community alike," he said.

"This can lead to attracting more investment to Esperance, creating new jobs, whilst attracting new residents and keeping people here."

The tourism strategy is set to be completed by the end of the financial year. Representatives from TRC were expected to meet with stakeholders at the end of the month to begin consultations, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the shire was discussing whether it would go ahead.

The shire advised stakeholders would be immediately notified of any changes.