By Brittany Hancock
There have been mixed reactions to Lonely Planet’s inclusion of Fremantle as one of the world’s top 10 cities to visit in 2016.
Some of Fremantle’s local business owners are among those surprised by the news.
Lynette Moore of Aubin Grove has worked at Yarns on Collie for eight years and said that while she loves the city, it still came as a shock.
“We’ve got so many empty shops now and businesses that have gone. I know it’s a good place to come and eat, and we’ve got beautiful blue skies and lovely beaches, so it’s fabulous for Fremantle but I don’t think it’s as good as it used to be,” she says.
Nicole Vrakking has worked in Fremantle for four years and agrees the city isn’t what it used to be.
“For people who are visiting it’s fantastic, we’ve got a lot of historical buildings, but so many businesses are closing down and the number of homeless people continues to escalate,” she says.
However Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt insists new developments have had a positive impact on the city.
“There’ve been a number of new hotels, restaurants and bars coming online in recent years that have really added to the appeal of Fremantle. I’m sure these and the many other exciting projects in the pipeline have contributed to Lonely Planet selecting Freo on this list,” he says.
Lonely Planet has credited the port city as a “liberated, freewheeling, engaging” city, “infused with good music”.
And while many online commentators disagreed, Tom Griffiths, Economic Development and Marketing Manager for the City of Fremantle, says it’s important to recognise the list for what it is.
“Lonely Planet are looking at this for next year, this is ‘cities on the rise’ so to speak. They are trying to get ahead of the game before a place becomes revitalised or re-established as a tourism hot spot,” he said.
“Lonely planet are not saying this is the 7th best city in the world, they’re saying in terms of cool places to visit in the next year or two years this is one of the ones coming up.”