Cristiano Ronaldo and other English Premier League superstars will get a chance to take quokka selfies at Rottnest Island when they come to Perth for a football bonanza as WA prepares to tell the world there’s no better place to live and work.
With the soccer extravaganza expected to attract tens of thousands of overseas and interstate visitors to Perth, the WA Government wants to showcase the State in the hope that it can attract skilled labour.
And what better way to do that than showcase Rotto and the smiling quokka.
The West Australian understands plans are being finalised to get selected players from Manchester United, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace to the island for the quokka selfie, made famous by the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Chris Hemsworth.
Plans are also underway to take the EPL players to Caversham Wildlife Park.
And just in case the soccer spectacle needs even more razzle dazzle, Tourism WA is producing a giant illuminated soccer ball — more than four metres high and featuring logos of the four clubs — to display at Elizabeth Quay and Forrest Place.
“This is far more than just two matches of elite football,” WA Tourism Minister Roger Cook said.
“This is a festival that is going to be felt all around Perth and Fremantle.
“There will be open training sessions, huge pub parties in four suburbs and special events spread across the city.
“We will also be using the opportunity to treat some of the players to some experiences that you can only get in Western Australia.”
Leeds United will take on Crystal Palace on Friday, July 22 at Optus Stadium while Manchester United and Aston Vila will face off on Saturday, July 23.
All travelling clubs have committed to bringing their full team to ensure top players participate in the matches.
WA’s international exposure will be huge — Ronaldo alone has more than 455 million Instagram followers and 150 million Facebook followers.
Two open training sessions at the WACA and Fremantle Oval will also be held.
There will also be four fan hubs spread across Perth — one for each team.
Crystal Palace fans can gather at The Leederville Hotel, Leeds fans at Gage Roads Brew Co, Aston Villa faithful at The Raffles Hotel and Manchester United fans at Picabar.
This will be the Red Devils’ and Leeds’ second high-profile trip to Perth in three years.
When Man United last visited, the 10-day tour brought a $16.5 million boost to the economy, with 13,000 visitors from 30 countries and interstate.
With the State Government desperate to attract more skilled workers to WA, the extravaganza gives WA a unique opportunity to entice overseas residents to its shores.
The UK was WA’s top visitor market in 2019, with 141,600 people travelling to the State and spending $249m.
Mr Cook is in the UK, where he is holding skilled migration meetings as well as meeting business and government representatives.
“We are spreading the message right around the world that Perth is one of the event capitals of South-East Asia and Western Australia is a tourism destination like no other,” he said.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA boss Chris Rodwell, who is in the UK with Mr Cook, said this was an important time to spruik WA.
“There’s no more critical message to send the world right now than WA is open for business, and there’s a huge range of opportunities in the WA economy,” Mr Rodwell said.