Broome as the new Bali? Not too long ago that would have sounded a little crazy, with some arguing that the only similarity is that both names begin with ‘B’.
But these are not normal times, as we know. And circumstances that may have seemed preposterous barely months ago are now the norm.
So why not Broome, the coastal town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia that made its name as a peal-diving centre, being the new Bali?
Broome is cleaning up and raking in visitors
According to an ABC News report, which reported the ‘Bali’ descriptor, tourism in the town is booming right now as West Aussies seek some fun and a touch of the tropical lifestyle on its pristine beaches and among its adventure attractions.
With WA effectively sealed off from the outside world due to its closed borders and the only ‘overseas’ excursion on offer being a trip to Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, the state’s residents are having to holiday at home or not at all.
Which is, of course, a boon for a tourism industry that has as hard hit as anywhere else in the world.
A ‘phenomenal’ past few weeks for visitors
ABC quotes Valerie Douglas, owner of the Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park in Broome, as saying the past few weeks had been “phenomenal”.
“We’ve never had a July school holidays quite like this before, for several reasons – mainly because the people who normally would go to Bali, are coming to Broome,” Douglas said.
“Broome’s the new Bali, and we’re loving it.”
Restaurants have been bustling in the town
According to the ABC, many accommodation providers in the Broome area have had a boost in visitors for the school holidays, restaurants have been bustling, and some tour operators have reported being booked out, bringing a welcome boost in morale after COVID-19 shutdowns.
There are many other similar good news stories in country WA this July, although whether the good times will be able to keep on rolling once the mid-year holidays are over and there are still no interstate or foreign travellers, is a moot point.
In the Pilbara, Tourism Association chairman Barry Harrison said 150-200 people were going through the Karratha Visitors Centre every day.
City of Karratha Mayor, Peter Long, told the ABC that was packed with people when he visited during the school holidays.
“It’s exploding here, it’s quite incredible and terrific to see,” he said.