The tourism industry is divided over who they want in the portfolio — premier-elect Mark McGowan or long-standing shadow minister Paul Papalia.
Some, such as Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods, believe Mr Papalia should get the job because of his “passion to improve the industry” and the four years of collaborative work in Opposition. But others say the Premier should take responsibility to give tourism a significant status and perceived importance.
Most operators and industry representatives contacted yesterday expect Mr Papalia to get the job.
Mr Woods said Mr Papalia had developed an acute understanding of WA tourism and its issues. “We believe the premier will need to concentrate on broader economic issues and the State’s finances,” Mr Woods said. “That should be his main focus.”
Outgoing premier Colin Barnett appointed himself tourism minister in March last year. At the time, Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said the decision “gave the industry a high priority across all government portfolios”.
Mr McGowan has promised to allocate $45 million a year over five years for the marketing of business events and domestic tourism and another $40 million over five years to attract events. He also said he would lead an overseas delegation as part of a crusade to boost the number of international students in WA.