Arts, education keys

CULTURAL and creative industries and international education have been identified as drivers of economic growth in Tasmania, according to a two-year update of the state government's economic development plan.

Minister for Economic Development David O'Byrne, who appeared at a media conference in Hobart yesterday with University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Peter Rathjen and MONA FOMA creative director Leigh Carmichael, said Tasmania's economy was becoming more diverse.

"Creative industries and the international education sector generate customers and revenue for Tasmanian businesses while making a huge contribution to the state's liveability," he said.

Mr O'Byrne said the international student market was worth $150 million to the state's economy and he deemed it a high priority.

"Each international student in Tasmania contributes an average $30,500 to the economy each year," he said.

Professor Rathjen said he would like to see international student numbers doubled over the next five years.

"We need to position Tasmania as an education destination in the minds of the rest of the world," he said.

Mr O'Byrne said festivals such as Ten Days on the Island, Festival of Voices, Junction Arts Festival, MONA FOMA and Dark MOFO generated employment, economic activity and cultural tourism spending.

The 2013 Ten Days on the Island generated more than $27 million and the Festival of Voices impact was more than $8 million.

"The current investment in the development of arts infrastructure in Tasmania will provide additional employment and investment in the arts," Mr O'Byrne said.

Dark MOFO will hold events in Launceston this winter after securing $200,000 in government funding.

Mr Carmichael said there were no plans to move MONA FOMA north.

"I think MOFO will stay Hobart based," Mr Carmichael said.

"Until funding is confirmed we don't even have a MOFO for next year."

This year 57 per cent of MONA FOMA visitors were from outside Tasmania.

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