TAS­MA­NIA LOVES YOU

Most see boom as a pos­i­tive

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - AMANDA DUCKER As­so­ciate Ed­i­tor [email protected]

A CLEAR ma­jor­ity of Tas­ma­ni­ans are un­trou­bled by the level of tourism growth in the state, ac­cord­ing to a Mer­cury sur­vey of 2500 peo­ple.

Sev­enty per cent of re­spon­dents said they were com­fort­able with the num­ber of tourists com­ing here – a re­sult hailed as heart­en­ing.

Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil chief Luke Martin said it was im­por­tant Tas­ma­ni­ans saw the ben­e­fits of hav­ing more vis­i­tors, but he un­der­stood the con­cerns of the 30 per cent – with in­ad­e­quate ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture in re­gional hot spots a chief con­cern.

A CLEAR ma­jor­ity of Tas­ma­ni­ans are un­trou­bled by the level of tourism growth in the state, new re­search shows.

The Mer­cury Fu­ture Tas­ma­nia sur­vey of more than 2500 Tas­ma­ni­ans has shown 69.6 per cent of re­spon­dents are com­fort­able with the past decade’s in­dus­try surge.

The re­main­ing 30.4 per cent said they were un­com­fort­able with cur­rent tourist num­bers.

Tourism In­dus­try Coun­cil of Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive Luke Martin said the find­ings were heart­en­ing.

Mr Martin said the big­gest is­sue fac­ing the in­dus­try with con­tin­u­ing strong growth was in­ad­e­quate ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing sew­er­age fa­cil­i­ties, in re­gional hot spots.

Mr Martin was speak­ing to the Mer­cury from Queen­stown, as part of a 16-ses­sion statewide con­sult­ing process as the peak body de­vel­ops its vi­sion plan for tourism in 2030.

He said sug­ges­tions that Ho­bart was near­ing “crunch” time in terms of city strain were wide of the mark.

In­deed, dur­ing the peak tourism pe­riod, Ho­bar­tians could ex­pect quicker not slower road traf­fic times.

Re­gion­ally, though, roads were one of a num­ber of in­fra­struc­ture is­sues ex­ac­er­bated by tourism im­pacts. Mr Martin said the tourism in­dus­try’s big­gest chal­lenge in the next five years would be work­ing with coun­cils and the State Govern­ment to ad­dress those is­sues.

“The core is­sues are the ca­pac­ity for coun­cils, landown­ers and State Growth to pro­vide the roads, carpark­ing, fresh wa­ter and sew­er­age that are ad­e­quate for both lo­cals and tourists,” he said.

Mr Martin, cit­ing Coles Bay and Fr­eycinet Na­tional Park, said TasWater in par­tic­u­lar had work to do to pre­vent sewage out­flows caus­ing beach clo­sures. The State Govern­ment needed to pri­ori­tise this re­al­ity over all else.

“It’s be­yond a joke at Coles Bay,” he said.

Sewage over­flows af­fected live­abil­ity for lo­cals and shack­ies as well as dash­ing tourist’s ex­pec­ta­tions of a pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment.

Shoddy roads and dodgy mo­bile re­cep­tion on some of

the busiest tourist routes also had the po­ten­tial to ham­string re­gional tourism growth and risk rep­u­ta­tional dam­age.

Mr Martin said the Tas­man High­way to Port Arthur ur­gently needed more pass­ing lanes and bet­ter mo­bile phone cov­er­age.

He pre­dicted the level of good­will to­wards tourism growth shown in the Mer­cury sur­vey would not last un­less such is­sues were ad­dressed.

“Coun­cils and govern­ment agen­cies need to come to­gether to in­vest proac­tively in re­gional in­fra­struc­ture and more pur­pose-built tourism ac­com­mo­da­tion,” he said.

Tourism Tas­ma­nia chief ex­ec­u­tive John Fitzger­ald said the re­search showed Tas­ma­ni­ans recog­nised that a strong vis­i­tor econ­omy had ben­e­fits.

Mr Fitzger­ald said TT’s mar­ket­ing pro­gram pro­moted the state as a “pre­mium and dis­tinct des­ti­na­tion”. Mr Fitzger­ald ref­er­enced the re­cently launched Come Down for Air cam­paign that pro­motes Tassie as a calm­ing des­ti­na­tion for stressed main­lan­ders.

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