Mark McGowan and the deputy premier will go to six nations to promote Western Australia as a tourism destination.

Mark McGowan and the deputy premier will go to six nations to promote Western Australia as a tourism destination.

In seven months, Mark McGowan and his deputy premier, Roger Cook, will travel to six nations to persuade visitors to visit Western Australia.

The WA premier will go to the UK with Mr Cook in June and then to Italy, South Korea, and Japan on his own later in the year, while Mr Cook visits Indonesia, Germany, and India.

The ‘Reconnect WA tour’ tries to entice visitors and migrants back into the state after the state’s borders were closed in 2020 because to the Covid epidemic.

Mark McGowan and the deputy premier will go to six nations to promote Western Australia as a tourism destination.

state when borders shut in 2020 because of the Covid pandemic

Delta outbreaks locked out most of the east coast for more than nine months and Omicron led to all other states being banned from November and December.

Mr McGowan stubbornly kept his hard border up even as the rest of the world learned to live with the virus, even cancelling a planned reopening date on February 5 until WA’s own outbreak rendered the issue moot.

Western Australia finally reopened its borders to visitors in March 2022.

‘The McGowan Government is embarking on trade and investment missions to let the rest of the world know that WA is safe, we are the strongest economy in the country, we are full of opportunities and we’re open for business,’ Mr Cook told The Sunday Times.

‘I will be making two major trips to Europe and India in the coming months to drive WA business opportunities and tourism.

‘The European trip will be focused on London Tech Week, skilled migration, trade and investment, tourism and space, as well as an event showcasing WA.’

Mr McGowan will meet with tourism and trade representatives and key banking and finance investors when he visits the UK.

Most of the visitors to Western Australia came from the UK before the pandemic.

Some 141,600 British people travelled to the state and spent $249 million.

The state’s tourist attractions include Nature’s Window, Ningaloo Reef Marine Park and Rottnest Island with its furry and loveable quokkas.

‘Increasing the number of visitors from overseas is a priority, which is why a focus of Reconnect WA has been on re-establishing key aviation routes with airline partners,’ Mr Cook said.

Most of the visitors to Western Australia came from the UK before the pandemic (pictured, Nature's Window at Kalbarri National Park)

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Most of the visitors to Western Australia came from the UK before the pandemic (pictured, Nature’s Window at Kalbarri National Park)

Mr McGowan will also be trying to firm up trade relations when he visits South Korea and Japan.

The two countries are Western Australia’s largest trading partners.

Mr Cook will lead a trade and investment mission with a large business delegation when he visits India in July.

Businesses are desperate for workers as skills shortages cripple the industry.

Mineral Resources boss Chris Ellison said he would increase wages from $40,000 to $120,000 in a bid to draw in more workers.

WA existed as a virtual hermit state when it shut its borders, with businesses forced to close from a lack of tourists and foreign staff while families grieved a forced separation from loved ones in other states and abroad.

Western Australia finally reopened its borders to visitors in March 2022

Western Australia finally reopened its borders to visitors in March 2022

While there were some compassionate exemptions made within that time, they were very few and far between.

Mr McGowan acknowledged the hard border greatly affected many people but insisted it was necessary in a lengthy post on Facebook in March.

‘The hard border was never about politics, and it was definitely never about the silly notion of secession (from the rest of Australia),’ he wrote.

‘It was about the value we placed on the lives of Western Australians, and the lengths we were willing to go to in order to protect them.

‘It had been over a hundred years since Western Australia last had a hard border to keep out the Spanish Flu.

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