Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Top 10 tourism strategy could see Perth overtake Gold Coast

Perth beach and hotel accommodation
Currently, on a list of international visitor nights spent per tourism region, Perth sits in fifth place with 719,000. The Gold Coast is fourth with 755,000
A leading WA tourism body has called on a working plan for the rail link between Perth and the airport and the development of bigger and better event venues to be among the state government's priorities.

Cutting government red tape currently hampering the development of tourism initiatives and improved customer service standards are also among the strategies that the Tourism Council WA believe can see Perth overtake the Gold Coast as the No. 4 most popular destination in Australia for international visitors.

The new plan set out by Tourism Council WA is expected to create 11,000 new jobs and add $2.6 billion to the local economy from extra visitor spending.

Tourism Council CEO Mr Hall said that most of the attractions and accommodation needed for the Destination Perth strategy to be realised are already being planned or are already underway.

"But we must work together on the events, services and marketing to convert these new assets to bums on seats and guests in beds," he said.

"New destinations such as the museum, stadium and Elizabeth Quay will transform Perth as a tourism destination.

"Under the Destination Perth strategy, our evolving city will create new jobs delivering services to new visitors."

The strategy was delivered to media and industry members by Mr Hall on Monday as a vision to be considered by government, industry and the community.

It was developed in alignment to the state government's Strategy for Tourism in WA that has a target of doubling the value of tourism expenditure from $6 billion in 2010 to $12 billion by 2020.

Part of the strategy includes 10 major developments that have been identified as targets that if addressed will see Perth rise closer to the top of favoured destinations for international, interstate and intrastate visitors.

Currently, on a list of international visitor nights spent in 2012 per tourism region, Perth sits in fifth place with 719,000. The Gold Coast is fourth with 755,000.

And in a similar list that shows domestic overnight visitors in 2012, Perth is in seventh place with 2,808,000, behind both the North Coast and South Coast of NSW. Again, the Gold Coast is fourth behind Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Mr Hall insists that the rail link between Perth and the airport needs to happen sooner rather than later and hopes it is not still an issue for debate by the time the next state election comes around.

He also believes that there is a renewed interest from private investors in Perth that could help make the wish list more achievable.

"There is certainly an appetite for private investment in the city; we are seeing people wanting to build hotels. We haven't seen that for many, many years," he said.

"That's what happens when you get the policy right, with government and with the private sector. We are seeing people wanting to start up new tourism operations and certainly for things like the cable cart, these would certainly be private operations, funded by the tourism industry, not by government.

"What we are doing is leveraging off government investment in things like Elizabeth Quay and the stadium and the museum and we can turn that into jobs and revenue and improved lifestyle for the people of Perth."

Top 10 developments:

  1. Perth Airport upgrade and rail link to the CBD;
  2. 1900 additional hotel rooms and a broader range of budget, business and luxury hotels.
  3. 4 new event venues and expansion of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre to 30,000m2 (from 16,700m2).
  4. Fast track approvals for innovative new experiences, tours and adventure activities.
  5. New flagship attractions including the Elizabeth Quay to Kings Park Cable Car and an Indigenous Cultural Centre.
  6. Managing and marketing new attractions to attract new visitors to Perth (eg selling 10,000 seats to Victorian visitors for AFL games at the new stadium).
  7. A new iconic annual home grown event to showcase Perth to the world.
  8. Sustained investment in public beaches, parks, gardens, heritage and cultural assets.
  9. Investment to secure future business and tourism events timed to fill the new hotels and attractions as they open doors.
  10. Enhanced customer service culture and liberalisation of liquor and retail trading regulations.

By Brad Elborough -


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Perth To Go Gaga

It is shaping up as the biggest year of live music in Perth's history.

Following tour announcements already this week from Kanye West and Robbie Williams, Lady Gaga has revealed she will head Down Under in August with her artRAVE, The ARTPOP Ball tour.

The eccentric pop star, right, will open the Australian leg of the tour at Perth Arena on August 20.

Gaga's die-hard fans, known as Little Monsters, have the chance to get up close and personal with the Bad Romance singer if they are willing to spend big.

For $1499, fans can sit inside an on-stage viewing area, known as the ARTPOP Zone, and then have an after-show meet and greet with Gaga in a private lounge area with cocktails and beverages. They will also get a photo with the singer.

Tickets go on sale at noon on Tuesday through Ticketek, starting at $92.65.

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Perth Zoo Additions are Otter-ly Cute

New Perth Zoo Additions are Otter-ly Cute

Four new members of the world's smallest otter species – the Asian small-clawed otter – have made their public debut at Perth Zoo.

Perth Zoo Chief Executive Susan Hunt said the tiny pups are part of an Australasian breeding program to help protect a wonderful species that is threatened in the wild.

"The otters at Perth Zoo have now had 16 otter pups which is four litters in the past two years.
"These latest pups are the third litter for parents Asia and Tuan," Ms Hunt said.
Asian small-clawed otters are highly social animals who pair for life. Males play a critical role rearing the pups, including nest building, swimming lessons and supplying food.
Older siblings also take a role in the care of new pups and two older sisters are currently helping rear the new babies.

The four pups were born on December 27 and recently started swimming lessons.

At this age, the pups are being carried out of the nest box and taken into the pool by the adults and then carried back inside again – but they will soon start venturing out by themselves.

The pups lined up for their first medical check on Monday by Perth Zoo veterinary staff to weigh, sex, microchip, vaccinate and examine their general health.

The vets identified two females and two males ranging in size from 520grams to 560grams.

Asian small-clawed otters weigh just 3.5kg when fully grown. They are native to parts of India, southern China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Source: WA Today

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cricket's Biggest International Prize! One Year to Go Celebrations

14 February 2014 marks one year to go until the first match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. To mark the occasion, public events will be held in all 14 World Cup Host Cities over two days.

To mark the occasion, public events will be held in all 14 World Cup Host Cities over two days. The events will include the unveiling of a city countdown clock, multicultural performances and junior cricket activities. Members of the public are welcome to all events.

Thursday 13 February


Host CityEvent locationStart time
AucklandQueen’s Wharf6.30am
HamiltonGarden Place, Victoria St7.15am
DunedinThe Octagon10.30am
WellingtonMidland Park, Lambton Quay12.00pm
NapierSound Shell, Marine Parade12.00pm
NelsonTrafalgar Square12.00pm
ChristchurchRe:Start Mall, Cashel St5.00pm

Friday 14 February


Host CityEvent locationStart time
Sydney Martin Place Stage 12.00p       
Melbourne      Federation Square Stage12.00pm
AdelaideRundle Mall11.00am
BrisbaneQueen Street Mall Stage12.45pm
CanberraCanberra Centre 12.00pm
HobartPW1 forecourt (Princes Wharf 1)12.30pm
PerthForrest Place12.00pm

Also on 14 February, prior to the start of the New Zealand v India test match at the Basin Reserve, a press conference to announce how Government and tournament organisers will work together to maximise the legacy of the tournament.

There will also be a special visit from the members of New Zealand’s 1992 Cricket World Cup squad during the tea break on Day 2 of the test.

Find out more at

Monday, February 10, 2014

Perth Celebrates China Connection with Spectacular Display

Perth has long boasted strong ties with East Asia through trade and a pioneering twinning agreement with Haikou in China’s Hainan province.

The Perthshire Chinese Community Association new year procession through the streets of Perth to mark the start of the Year of the Horse

Perth has long boasted strong ties with East Asia through trade and a pioneering twinning agreement with Haikou in China’s Hainan province.

And on Tuesday staff and pupils from Perth High School immersed themselves in all aspects of Chinese culture when they celebrated Chinese New Year.

Youngsters were joined by Andy Chan, chairman of the Perthshire Chinese Community Association, and Mandarin teacher Yang Jacobsen, for the China Day event which included Chinese cookery, Chopsticks and Paper Cutting, Tai Chi and Chinese Dragon Art workshops.

The Fair City school is widely regarded as a hub for learning about the Chinese language and culture, and is home to what was Scotland’s first Confucious classroom and offers Mandarin as one of its foreign languages.

A spokesperson for the school told the PA: “Perth High School has strong links with the Chinese community and is committed to increasing young people’s knowledge and awareness of Chinese language and culture.”

Meanwhile on Monday Perth and Kinross Provost Liz Grant welcomed in the Chinese New Year with members of the Perthshire Chinese Community Association

The Provost also invited members of the local Chinese community to a civic reception at 2 High Street to mark this Year of the Horse.

Celebrations took take place in Perth city centre starting with a firecracker display at the viewing platform on Tay Street, which lit up the early evening.

This was followed by a spectacular procession which was headed up by two police horses and a Chinese lion dance troop.

The acrobats performed gymnastic poses and tumbles, leading the Provost and community members through Perth High Street, King Edward Street, St John’s Place and St John Street to the Salutation Hotel on South Street to continue the evening’s celebrations.

Also on hand to amaze and entertain was circus-themed entertainment including close-up magical illusions, a stilt walking juggler and a daredevil street show performer who incorporated fire into his act.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Perth International Arts Festival 2014

Perth International Arts Festival 2014 is the longest running and best loved international arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere.

This year is the 62nd annual Festival. In 2013 Festival shows sold more than $5 million worth of tickets, with attendances of over 500,000 from a city of under 2 million people: we sell more tickets per capita than any international arts festival in Australia.

The 62nd Perth Festival kicks off on Friday, 7 February and runs until 1 March. The diverse program offers a world-class cultural feast for arts lovers of all ages and persuasions. In a quintessentially Western Australian experience, more than 1000 of the world's most exciting contemporary artists transform and disrupt Perth as the Festival spills across unique venues and glorious, outdoor spaces.

Living up to its worldwide reputation for excellence, in 2014 the Festival delivers a program of unforgettable, enriching works, created by artists who are daring, thoughtful, and innovative, with 26 Australian exclusives, 33 Australian premieres and two world premieres.

Perth Festival Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway said: "The 2014 Perth Festival collaborates with the world's greatest artists and many of Western Australia's most creative and talented people to find new and exciting ways to create a Festival in and of Perth. Joining us in our exploration of what it is to be a 21st Century festival in the remotest and yet most connected capital city in the Southern Hemisphere are Robert Wilson, Dawn Upshaw, Martin Amis, The National, William Kentridge, Tod Machover and Public Enemy, to name just 20 of the 1000+ artistic collaborators."

The 2014 Festival explodes in a spectacle of wonder with the Lotterywest Festival Spectacular Veles e Vents, supported by Eventscorp. For three nights over the opening weekend, the Spanish masters of public theatre take to the seas and the sky, recreating a ship's grand and perilous voyage in a sublime visual display of fireworks and light. Suitable for the whole family, the exclusive Australian premiere promises to kick off the 2014 Festival with an explosion of music and movement.

The Festival's free program takes art to the people as the streets of Perth are playfully transformed and life re-imagined. Sam Routledge & Martyn Coutts' I Think I Can brings avatars to life in an enchanted model town. The Lotterywest Festival Celebration, Jeremy Deller's Sacrilege, invites Festival goers to literally leap into ancient history, re-creating Stonehenge as a full-scale bouncy castle.

The Chevron Festival Gardens become the ambient Festival hub as guests gather, discuss and participate, with free entry to the Garden from 5pm until late Wednesday-Saturday and 6.30pm until late Sunday-Tuesday.

The 2014 Theatre and Circus program traverses the spectrum from the gritty to the surreal, inviting the world's most acclaimed performers to the Australian stage. Modern master of the Russian avant-garde, Dmitry Krymov, makes his Australian debut with A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It), a whirling re-imagining of history's first great love story, that of Pyramus and Thisbe. From Israel comes the Australian premiere of Not by Bread Alone: 11 deaf-blind actors take audiences on a profoundly moving journey through their inner world, as bread is kneaded, formed and baked on stage. Raw and explosive, South Africa's Yael Farber adapts Strindberg's classic Miss Julie to post-apartheid South Africa in Mies Julie, revealing theatre at its most potent.

Theatre genius Robert Wilson returns to Perth in the exclusive Australian premiere of Samuel Beckett's blackly comic masterpiece, Krapp's Last Tape. From New York, Perth welcomes An Iliad, superstar Denis O'Hare's riveting one-man performance of Homer's Trojan epic. The UK's internationally renowned NoFit State Circus brings circus as you've never seen it with the Australian premiere of Bianco, a graceful, aerial adventure of drama and breathtaking ability which immerses the audience in the action.

Further highlights include two Festival co-commissions. Malthouse Theatre's The Shadow King is an explosive interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear, melding contemporary Aboriginal storytelling in a blood-soaked interrogation of kinship, land and belonging. Co-commissioned by the Festival, Opus fuses the contemporary circus of Australia's finest, Circa, with dynamic music of Shostakovitch performed by France's Debussy String Quartet.

You Once Said Yes is unforgettable one-on-one theatre. As part of our Vital Stages program, we bring Look Left Look Right together with Western Australian artists to create a thrilling theatrical experience for the people of Perth. One of the most exciting theatre collectives in the world, Germany's Rimini Protokoll presents the Australian exclusive of Situation Rooms. In this multi-dimensional, interactive documentary theatre experience, audiences explore a maze of stories from people whose lives have been touched by the weapons industry. This is theatre like you've never experienced it before.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

England Eager to Avoid 'Worst in History' Tag

There are many contenders but by this time next week the unofficial title of England's most unsuccessful team may change hands. It will be bestowed on the 2013-14 vintage in Australia who are on a losing streak that shows no signs of abating.

Defeat on Friday – and the resignation in the air is darkening the clear Perth skies – and it will be nine internationals in a row on tour, 10 in all counting the loss in the final one-dayer at home last September. That is a record sequence matched only twice before in England's history.

To judge this group, which has comprised 24 players across all matches, as the worst in history may be harsh, but it is also a measure of how badly this expedition has gone. Anybody who has seen England in the one-day series will be astonished if they manage to prise one of the next two games from Australia's grasp. They are resting several players, including the captain Alastair Cook, from the fourth ODI.

The main hope now is that England will win at least one of the three Twenty20 matches which bring the tour to a close next week. But such is the one-sided nature of proceedings that everyone thinks 13-0 on tour is at least possible.

There was almost a plaintive note in the voice of the off-spinner, James Tredwell, the last player to join the motley band. "That's the Aussies," he said. "When they are going well they can batter you to a degree and, if we're honest, that's what they've done over the course of this winter and it's finding a way to push back against that. We've had periods when we've done that and if we can try and push them back a bit we've the skills to do the job. We have to believe, don't we? And if we don't we're just going to roll over again."

In 1993, England lost 10 Tests and ODIs before drawing a Test match at Nottingham against Australia. Eight years later at home, they lost 10 before beating the Australians in a Test at Leeds.

The difference this time is that all the defeats have been against the same opponents, who are relishing each day as it arrives. That much was evident when Mitchell Johnson came back home to Perth from Sydney, where on Monday night he received the Allan Border Medal for the Australian player of the year.

It was like the return of the conquering hero as he charmed an audience full of adulation at the airport. Johnson has put the frighteners on England for months and he traced the beginning of his ascendancy back to the one-day series in England late last summer. "It felt that there was something going on," he said. "I felt like everything was coming together – all the hard work and the change of my run-up, the lengthening of that through the IPL.

Mitchell Johnson was greeted in his hometown of Perth ahead of Friday’s ODI like a conquering hero (Getty)Mitchell Johnson was greeted in his hometown of Perth ahead of Friday’s ODI like a conquering hero (Getty)

"That was my first real sort of tournament after my injury. I felt good through that tournament, but not quite right. And then playing at international level again in the one-day series, I definitely felt something there. And it went on from there."

Johnson took 37 wickets in the Ashes series and threatens to be a handful at his home ground, the Waca, on Friday, when he will probably bowl three short, rapid bursts.

England practised hard at the University of Western Australian campus. There is a desperation to get a win from somewhere, anywhere, a closing of the ranks round Cook. But all that cannot conceal the fact Australia are in swagger mode, playing irrepressible cricket that will, as Tredwell put it, ultimately batter England.

England on the run: Longest losing streaks

10 matches (Mar-June 1993)

Two ODIs in India
Two ODIs in Sri Lanka
One Test in Sri Lanka
Three ODIs vs Australia
Two Tests vs Australia

10 matches (May-Aug 2001)

One Test vs Pakistan
Three ODIs vs Pakistan
Three ODIs vs Australia
Three Tests vs Australia

The current run is 9 matches