Tourism Council WA proposes staggered school holidays based on location north and south of Swan River – PerthNow

WA public schools would stagger their holiday breaks depending on whether they lie north or south of the Swan River under a radical proposal aimed at giving families more chance to travel and book accommodation during peak periods.
The plan to slice the State in half and allow one region to start their autumn, winter and spring school holidays a week earlier than the other is contained in a Tourism Council WA discussion paper.
The “School’s Out” report released on Friday as students and teachers start their autumn break argues that staggering holidays would halve congestion on roads, reduce accommodation prices and cut crowds and wait times at tourist attractions and restaurants.
The report estimates the change would cut school holiday premium pricing by up to 24 per cent, allow for an additional 730,000 visitor nights by WA families, create 2000 more jobs and add an extra $299 million in visitor expenditure.
Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said the three states on Australia’s east coast, NSW, Queensland and Victoria, had long ago agreed to start their breaks at different times.
“WA is unique, our State is the length of the coast, but that means we need a uniquely Western Australian solution to the fact that the vast majority of families want to take their holidays over the same two-week period and they all want go in the same direction,” he said.
“Everyone wants to head north for the winter and they’re more likely to go south for the other months. If we can spread it out, it will make a huge difference.”
The report said limits on tourism capacity in regional areas meant price rises were inevitable and families were turned away during peak periods — even though trade remained slow either side of the break.
Extending their peak trading season would increase business sustainability and having more seasonal shifts available for workers in tourism hot spots would make it easier for businesses to entice potential employees.
It would also mean that for the three weeks of the year when there was no overlap between north and south regions there would be less competition in work places for employees trying to book annual leave at the same time.
“A lot of people now effectively miss out on holidays because they don’t get their annual leave approved, and they have no choice but to put their kids in daycare,” Mr Hall said.
“Holidays are not only critical quality time for families, holidays are a great education experience for kids as they learn about the cultural and natural diversity of WA.”
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