The number of international travellers holidaying in the North West and Coral Coast has dropped by 12 per cent in the space of one year.
Figures released by the Federal Government’s Tourism Research Australia show about 62,000 foreigners visited the North West in 2017, down about 10,000 from 2016.
Australia’s Coral Coast, which includes the Ningaloo Coast and Exmouth, also experienced a drop, going from 89,000 in 2016 to 79,000 in 2017, and backpacker numbers were down in both regions.
Three-thousand fewer visited the North West (15,000) and 5000 fewer visited the Coral Coast (21,000).
While international visitor numbers may have dropped, they are still spending plenty of money in Exmouth. An average of $108 was spent by each visitor every night on the Coral Coast, more than double that spent in the North West.
The Coral Coast recorded the 10th-highest average per-visitor, per-night spend out of 50 regions, only bettered by capital cities and sought-after destinations such as the Gold Coast and the Whitsunday Islands.
The TRA data comes as Tourism WA figures revealed the amount of money spent by tourists in WA’s North West dipped 36.1 per cent year-on-year in 2017. The Coral Coast had a 1.9 per cent drop in tourism income.
Tourism Council of WA boss Evan Hall said regional tourism had been hit with declining numbers of international and interstate visitors, and West Australians who were spending less thanks to the soft economy.