PEOPLE make choices about where they visit and why.
Those choices are shaped by a number of factors, including word of mouth, social media platforms, the value of the Australian dollar and opportunities to be with friends and family.
And they make choices about coming back.
Over the Christmas-New Year period, Tasmanians entertain friends and relatives and show visitors our unique landscapes and built environment.
Local food and beverages are on display for all to savour.
It's a time to be proud of the diversity of the experiences Tasmania can offer.
The experiences and impressions visitors have of Tasmania matter.
The politics and policy attached to place are increasingly important in a highly competitive global economy.
Tasmania is closer to the Antarctic continent than Shanghai; it is a long way from the bright lights of anywhere.
When people decide to visit Tasmania they have reasons. Beyond family and friends, those reasons need to be compelling and are often determined after a search of comparative options and research into the experiences encountered by others.
Globally this challenge - how we can get people to visit, live and invest in our state - is met by levels of sophistication in a policy sense by some places, for example New Zealand and Canada, but less so in complacent places such as Tasmania.
Over the holiday period, our family has had the opportunity to see Tasmania through the eyes of two young, fit, highly skilled medical doctors from Germany, Eva and Christoph, who currently live in Melbourne.
They walked the Walls of Jerusalem, climbed its splendid peaks and rested on the banks of Lake Ball using local knowledge to find a quiet spot.
They trekked through Freycinet and the Bay of Fires, camping at both spots.
Bridport was their final destination for fine wine, food, terrible karaoke singing and a table- tennis humiliation at the hands of the locals.
For Eva and Christoph, the world is literally their oyster.
Already in their young lives their playgrounds of choice have included: Germany, Switzerland, the US, South America, Asia and now Australia.
Tasmania is their first real Australian holiday experience.
Eva and Christoph will come back to Tasmania because their experience was positive, because people cared, from the Deloraine B&B proprietor who got up early to get them on their way; to Androo Kelly's unique take on Tasmanian wildlife at Trowunna Sanctuary, Mole Creek; Maxine Harris's hospitality at Jansz; the impressive boardwalk protection at the Walls; and the surprising summer weather.
Their photo montage is a testimony to Tasmania's competitive advantage: pictures of beaches and wilderness with few people, recreational experiences, unique wildlife, food and wine with friends, and mad, welcoming families.
This montage is now to be temptingly shared with relatives enduring a European winter.
Conquering Frenchmans Cap is the next challenge for a couple who grew up in the shadow of the Eiger, Switzerland.
In Tasmania, we can all be proud ambassadors for our state.
What we do and how we do it matters.
Policy makers need to think beyond the tourism sector and focus on the points of difference that give Tasmania a competitive chance against the world's best recreational and lifestyle destinations.
Crap tourism products and experiences and bizarre advertising do visitors no favours.
Visitors are doing us a favour.
Let's welcome them well.
Dr Tony McCall is a senior lecturer at the School of Government, University of Tasmania.