It’s been a long , wet winter but the sun may finally be shining on the grass roots of WA tourism.
Sarah Corbitt, GM at Summerstar Tourist Parks, Western Australia’s largest holiday park operator with 10 properties around the state, is looking forward to a bumper peak season.
“Christmas, as ever, is set to be chockas at our parks all around the state – the people of Western Australia love flocking to the beach.
“We’re busy right through to Australia Day, which is a little unusual as business normally drops off after the first week of January.”
Sarah hopes it’s the beginning of a longer-term tourism recovery for the west, where the industry has suffered in recent years due to lower international and interstate visitations.
The proliferation of Airnbnb rentals and non-compliant campsites have also had an impact.
“West Australians are hopefully starting to holiday in their own back yard again. It’s been a long winter and a bit wetter than normal.”
While peak travel periods such as school holidays are always busy, business has been slower than usual during the off-season.
On the upside, the tidal wave of grey nomads remains undiminished while an emerging market is families “doing the lap” of Australia.
A few of these make it up to the spectacular north-west of Western Australia, remote but dramatically beautiful.
“The remoteness can be challenging but with caravanning and camping that’s what people want. WA has such a diverse range of things to do and see.”
In terms of travel trends, Sarah says the hottest destinations for Summerstar this year are its parks at Jurien Bay and Esperance.
Horrocks Beach on the WA Coral Coast has also enjoyed a surge of popularity after being selected as Australia’s best beach by Brad Farmer, ‘beach ambassador’ for Tourism Australia.
Sarah is very optimistic about the future (“you’ve got to adapt to survive) and the family-owned business continues to expand with a new park under development at iconic Red Bluff, near Kalbarri.