The WA Government hopes the launch of a new ferry service to Rottnest will put downward pressure on the price of travelling to the island.
Premier Mark McGowan and Tourism Minister Paul Papalia were today at the launch of the new service by Captain Cook Cruises — bringing to three the total number of ferry operators to Rottnest.
About 645,000 people visited Rottnest last financial year, and the Government hopes the new service will help boost numbers.
Mr McGowan said he understood some people believed the cost of catching a ferry to Rottnest was excessive.
“If you are not on a good income getting to Rottnest is expensive,” he said.
“The more operators you have, the more competitive the market and certainly when it comes to these sorts of operations it provides the opportunity for additional downward pressure on prices, and hopefully it attracts more tourists as a consequence.”
An adult return fare offered by other operators from Fremantle to Rottnest costs about $60 plus a $24 admission fee to the island, taking the total round trip to more than $80. Captain Cook is yet to release its ferry scheduling and pricing.
Captain Cook Cruises, which was purchased by SeaLink Travel Group in May last year, will commence the new daily service between Fremantle and Rottnest in November.
Captain Cook has been a long-term ferry operator in WA, offering cruises out of Barrack Street Jetty on the Swan River to a number of destinations including Fremantle and the Swan Valley. It will continue these services.
SeaLink general manager Andrew Lane said the company would be using a 400-passenger high-speed water jet catamaran ferry for its Rottnest service.
He said as it had done in the other destinations it serviced, such as the Tiwi Islands, Kangaroo Island and Magnetic Island, SeaLink planned to invest in infrastructure and other offerings on Rottnest.
“A range of opportunities, tours, attractions, events, all those types of things that we invest in, which we do on other services that we run,” he said.
“We are certainly a broader scope business, we look at investing heavily in the destinations to which we run.”
Mr Lane argued it was sustainable to have three ferry operators to Rottnest, but the Mr Papalia conceded the two existing operators may not welcome the increased competition.