Singapore’s importance to Western Australia as a tourism market has been reinforced during Tourism Minister Paul Papalia’s first official visit to the island nation.
In 2016, the number of yearly visitors from Singapore to WA climbed above 100,000 for the first time and, in the 12 months to March 2017, 104,500 Singaporeans travelled to our shores – a 17 per cent increase on the previous 12 months.
Singapore delivers the third highest number of international visitors to WA (behind the UK and Malaysia) and the third highest international visitor spend (behind the UK and China) – $253 million in the 12 months to March 2017, a year on year increase of 27 per cent.
Singaporeans travelling to Australia can now apply for a new visa which allows them to enter the country for up to three months at a time, over a six-year period.
Perth is more affordable than ever before, with more than 1,500 quality hotel rooms opening in the city in the past few years.
In 2012, travellers to Perth were paying an average of $222.72 a night for a room with most recent figures (year to date ending June 2017) showing it has dropped to $169.38.
During a media conference and lunch at the Australian High Commission in Singapore, Mr Papalia said Perth and Western Australia remained a must see destination for Singaporeans and there has never been so much to see and do.
Visitors can swim with wild dolphins, take a river cruise to a premium wine region, soak up the sun and take a quokka selfie on Rottnest Island, and have a picnic in one of the world’s biggest inner city parks – all within 50 kilometres of the central business district.
The State Government has also sponsored Perth’s biggest annual horse racing festival, the TABtouch Masters Series, to help attract renowned international thoroughbreds to compete in the event. The festival, at Ascot Racecourse, offers three Group One races with at least $1 million each in prize money; the Railway Stakes, Winterbottom Stakes and the Kingston Town Classic on November 25, December 2 and 9 respectively.
During his visit, the Minister also acknowledged this year’s 50th anniversary of the first ever Singapore Airlines flight to Perth, which was the airline’s first Australian destination.
Papalia said “There has always been a strong affinity between Singapore and Western Australia, especially when it comes to tourism.
“Perth remains the gateway to Australia from Singapore.
“Now, more than ever, there is so much to see and do in Perth and in the regions.
“More than 1,500 hotel rooms have opened in Perth in the past few years, offering the highest quality at a very affordable rate.
“There are more small bars and restaurants than ever before with Perth offering a truly world-class dining and night life experience.
“And of course all the things Singaporeans have traditionally loved about Western Australia still exist; fresh air, blue skies, sunshine, fresh produce and access to beaches, wineries and native wildlife all within an hour of the city centre.
“I welcome Singaporeans to check Western Australia’s vibrant events scene, including horse racing, food and wine shows as well as other sporting and cultural events, and urge them to come and visit us soon.”