Ahead of the Tasmanian state election, peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) is calling on both major parties to strategically invest in tourism as a key industry of the future.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said tourism is one of the state’s best economic development strategies.
“TTF’s National Tourism Business Count & Employment Atlas shows that Tasmania is the most tourism dependant state in Australia, with 6.6 – 7.9 per cent of total direct employment across all electorates attributable to tourism,” said Mr Morrison.
“The industry employs 38,000 people and supports 6,300 businesses across a number of sectors including accommodation, hospitality and entertainment.
“TTF is looking for a fresh commitment from the major parties to the Tourism 21 goal of increasing visitor expenditure to $2.1 billion by 2021.
“The Tasmanian tourism industry is performing well, with a 10 per cent increase in international visitors to the state in 2012-13 and a 14 per cent increase in interstate visitors. Now is the time to capitalise on this positive momentum to create even more jobs and grow the economy.
“Several successful marketing campaigns have helped contribute to this recent success and so we urge the state’s leaders to commit to increased funding for Tourism Tasmania to realise the industry’s potential.
“Increasingly, major events are driving visitation and so we urge the parties to commitment to Tasmania’s major events program and develop an events strategy with a focus on encouraging regional dispersal and evening out seasonality.
“Tasmania’s tourism industry also stands to benefit by unlocking the potential of the state’s natural assets. By considering commercial tourism opportunities in national parks and the world heritage area, the state could further expand its tourism offering for potential visitors, and we welcome the Coalition’s commitments.
“Industry will also be looking for a commitment to demand driving infrastructure projects across the state to encourage regional dispersal beyond Hobart. Completing the Three Capes Track and upgrading the South Coast Track are key projects for the visitor economy, as well as developing food and wine experiences in the regions.
“Industry is confident that if prioritised by government, tourism will continue to deliver job opportunities for Tasmania and create economic stability now and into the future.”