North needs to draw in tourists

THE popularity of the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart has seen a resurgence in tourism to Tasmania, but fewer tourists are making the trip to the North of the state.

This is according to tourism figures and business operators who want to see more of the ``MONA effect'' benefit the North and are calling on a concerted effort by private investors, the state government and Northern councils to develop a major all-year drawcard.

MONA is the second most visited attraction in the state, behind the Salamanca Market, with about 280,000 interstate and international visitors a year, according to Tourism Tasmania figures to September 2013.

Some Northern businesses have reported exceptional visitor numbers in recent weeks as the peak tourist season continues in full swing, but come winter it is a different a picture they say.

Beachs'N Greens operator Rod Stone said an attraction was needed to encourage people beyond the long-weekend trip to the South that took in MONA and one other place.

``MONA are very clever, they've kept evolving so they keep getting people to want to come back for a second, possibly third trip,'' he said.

Mr Stone suggested an attraction like a historic village, similar to that of Sovereign Hill at Ballarat, could draw people to the North.

He experienced a 38 per cent decline to his accommodation business last year and said it was occurring in other businesses around the region.

Tamar Valley Wholefoods owner Jim Gleeson said a number of ideas to draw people along the Tamar River and through the valley were being discussed, but ultimately the community had to come up with the one thing that set it apart and could market successfully.

He said there was great scope for the three councils in the area to work together to come up with a plan or development that would bring the tourists here and could possibly focus on the Tamar River and a great food and wine experience.

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said MONA had had a great effect on drawing people to the state on short trips and they had begun trying to draw them North-ward. 

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the government was investing $200,000 in bringing Dark MOFO to the North this coming winter, which would include a winter feast and 10-day feature exhibit at Inveresk.

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