New Rottnest holiday plan ‘too expensive’ for retirees

By Matthew Paddick, Shenaye Northam and Elizabeth Tan

Rottnest Island Western Australia

A new extended stay plan to attract retirees to Rottnest Island during winter is too expensive, according to the representative body.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia announced on Monday visitors could stay for up to 15 weeks with prices starting from $530 for a four bedroom unit.

He said the island would become home to 30 households this winter and targeted holiday-makers, artists and retirees.

But Retirees WA chief executive Margaret Thomas said most retirees did not have the money to stay on the island, especially pensioners.

“Most retirees go on caravan holidays because it’s not that expensive,” she said.

Ms Thomas said retirees looked for something they could afford for a holiday.

“If it was a lot cheaper they would be interested, but they don’t have the money,” she said.

Under the extended stay program visitors would stay on the island for 8-15 weeks.

Mr Papalia said the government wanted to encourage more visitors to Rottnest Island throughout winter.

The extended stay option would appeal to people looking for a different experience this winter.

Ms Thomas said Rottnest could be really cold in winter and was not as attractive as it was in summer.

“Retirees generally don’t like it too cold,” she said.

“It’s probably cheaper to go to Bali, it’s probably warmer.”