The State Government is on track to smash its target of 1900 new hotel rooms in Perth by 2020, with billions of dollars earmarked for dozens of projects over the next three years.
But the unprecedented and game-changing expansion of the Perth hotel market has prompted fresh concerns that the new rooms will not be filled.
Australian Hotels Association (WA) chief executive Bradley Woods believes WA’s destination marketing needs to increase by at least $20 million to bring it into line with other States and increase the number of visitors to WA.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for a 206-room DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Northbridge yesterday, Tourism Minister Kim Hames conceded that filling Perth’s new hotel rooms would be a challenge.
But he said revitalising Northbridge and key projects such as the Perth City Link and Elizabeth Quay would go a long way to making Perth a more attractive tourist destination.
Yesterday’s ceremony marks the third DoubleTree by Hilton hotel to be built around Perth over the next two years. The others are at Barrack Street jetty and in Fremantle for a total of 595 new rooms. All are due to be completed in 2017.
The Northbridge hotel in James Street will have 206 rooms including four suites, a restaurant, bar, business centre, gym and outdoor pool.
In late 2011, in the face of high room rates and occupancy, the State Government launched incentives to attract hotel developers to Perth.
Economic modelling at the time suggested that unless 1900 new rooms could be found by 2020, WA could lose up to $600 million a year in tourism income.
It was a significant challenge given that between 2006 and 2012 only 223 rooms were added to the Perth market.
Tourism WA data shows the recent announcement of a 250-room hotel and 200 serviced apartments at the City Link tips the number of committed new rooms past 1900.
But with several other projects planned, including the three Hilton sites, the number of new hotel rooms is about 3000.
Mr Woods said WA’s tourist marketing needed a big boost to fill those rooms and a 50 per cent increase — about $20 million — would bring WA into line with Victoria.
This year, CBRE Hotels senior director David Kennedy said he did not expect a glut of rooms in coming years because major infrastructure and property developments would create significant demand in Perth.
He said many of the new rooms would not be ready for three years — perfect timing for the next wave of demand.
This article is originally published on The West Australian by Kent Acott, 8 July 2015