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‘Forgotten Pilbara’ claim

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph

With tourism considered an emerging industry for the Pilbara, the head of the Pilbara Regional Council has criticised Tourism WA for “forgetting the Pilbara even exists” on their website and other marketing material.

Pilbara Regional Council chief executive Tony Friday said an inspection of the Tourism WA destination website showed a heavy emphasis on the Kimberley at the expense of the Pilbara, with only Karijini National Park rating a mention amid a list of itineraries for Kimberley landmarks, and no acknowledgement of the Pilbara in a new series of ads promoting the North West.

Mr Friday, who is also a board member of the Australia’s North West Tourism campaign run by Tourism WA, said the agency was “completely asleep at the wheel” in regards to tourism in the Pilbara.

“The North West region seems determined to focus on the past brand value of Broome rather than the exciting potential of Australia’s newest city and its surrounding areas,” he said.

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“They’ve got six wonderful new videos — three that speak to the Broome, two that speak to the Kimberley, and none that speak to the Pilbara,” he said.

“It provides zero State support for all the time and effort that they are spending in trying to develop the region.

“Until our State Government realises (the Pilbara) is more than just iron ore they won’t unlock its full potential.”

Tourism WA executive director of marketing Louise Scott defended the agency’s North West marketing, saying content was still being built to showcase other areas in the Pilbara.

“The Broome and North West page is yet to feature any Pilbara-specific destinations, and it is important to note that the campaign is only six months old and content is still being built,” she said.

“There are many examples of how the region is highlighted, including on the Travel Around WA page, a dedicated North West page, the itineraries page, as well as dedicated pages for Port Hedland.”

Ms Scott said Tourism WA considered the Pilbara “an important chapter in the story of WA’s tourism offering” and would continue to include its experiences in marketing material.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor Camilo Blanco said the Town acknowledged the Pilbara had been under-represented in the past when it came to intra and interstate tourism promotion.

“With the recent changes to the local tourism industry there is an opportunity to look at how we can include more information about the Pilbara in all Tourism WA marketing and promotion,” he said.

“There needs to be a commitment from State Government to diversify our economy through tourism.”

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