TASMANIA LOVES YOU
Most see boom as a positive
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.