Kalbarri to benefit from tourism revenue post-cyclone Seroja, industry leaders say at Geraldton conference
Tourism could be the silver bullet in helping Kalbarri recover as it reopens to the public post-cyclone Seroja, according to industry leaders.
The devastated tourism destination was on the minds of everyone who attended the WA Regional Tourism Conference in Geraldton last week, with guest speakers paying tribute to the resilience of the Kalbarri community.
Tourism Minister David Templeman said the State Government was committed to helping Kalbarri and other cyclone-affected towns get back on their feet.
“Can I assure you the Government is very much focussed on aiding the recovery and rebuild of Kalbarri and other communities affected,” he said.
“Of course, tourism will play a key role in ensuring that those communities are up and functioning.
“We are focussed on making sure that when we can as soon as possible have those communities open again.”
City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said Geraldton could act as a gateway to funnel tourists into Kalbarri and beyond.
“It is really important that we do reach out to those regions that were affected,” he said.
“That might mean staying the night in Geraldton and driving out to see Kalbarri, but there are plenty of ways to show your support.
“We stand ready as a City to deliver resources but also our accommodation providers, our tour operators will also be ready to do that.”
Kalbarri National Park is expected to continue to be a significant drawcard for tourists post-cyclone, with Parks and Wildlife Service project officer Nicole Nelson saying the new Skywalk attraction had exceeded expectations.
“Thousands of visitors were evacuated from the town before the cyclone during the busiest time of the year during the Easter school holidays, and up until that point National Park revenue had shot through the roof,” she said.
“We were provided with occupancy levels from one of the major accommodation suppliers in Kalbarri who before the installation of the Skywalk was averaging 52 per cent occupancy rate, and for the four months after the Skywalk that increased to 93 per cent.
“The Kalbarri Visitor Centre shared their door figures with us and they have seen a 33 per cent increase each month following the opening.”
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