June 25, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo

At the height of the mining boom in Western Australia, getting a bed or a training room was difficult. Now the problem is the opposite.

“A few years ago, there was ‘no room at the inn’ in Perth, largely made up by a massive mining boom and a lot of corporate travellers absorbing those [hotel] rooms in the CBD. The balance between supply and demand for hotel rooms has been redressed,” says CEO of Destination Perth, Tracey Cinavas-Prosser.

Five years ago, there were about 6,000 hotel beds in Perth, running at 100 percent occupancy midweek.   Now, having invested billions on new infrastructure, such as the Elizabeth Quay precinct with the new Ritz Carlton and Doubletree by Hilton hotels, Perth has nearly 13,000 beds in the city with more being built.

“We’ve seen an influx of new infrastructure – 5,585 new rooms have been added across 42 hotels since 2012; currently under construction are another 1,093 rooms across seven hotels with a further 4,000 rooms under consideration,” says Cinavas-Prosser.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a more affordable time to visit Perth. And not just affordable, but getting a quality product.”

Cinavas-Prosser says many in the sector are doing it tough.

“We all long for the return of the international consumer, meanwhile we have had to reimagine ourselves, sharpen our pencils to appeal to a much different market.”

One issue for the sector is the labour shortage.

“We are missing our backpackers, those international students who took a gap year to come and work in hospitality. It is alarming that just in Western Australia there are 8,500 hospitality positions available for qualified chefs, cooks, F&B staff, housekeepers…it is having a detrimental effect “

The regional tourism organisation she heads covers greater Perth, including Fremantle, Rottnest Island, Swan and Avon valleys, the hills and beachside communities including Mandurah and Rockingham.  The area overseen by Destination Perth also accounts for 90 percent of the state’s tourism offerings – tours, experiences and hotels.

“There’s no better time to explore Australia than now since we’re all captive in our own country,” says Cinavas-Prosser.