WORLD class walking tracks in Tasmania are a ``sleeping giant'' when it comes to unlocking the state's tourism potential, according to operators.
The state Liberals have promised $2 million to upgrade the South Coast Track to improve access for walkers.
Making the announcement at Melaleuca on the South Coast Track yesterday, Liberal leader Will Hodgman said the funding would allow the walking tracks to be showcased.
``By investing in this infrastructure we are opening up access to the entire world,'' Mr Hodgman said.
Par Avion Wilderness Tours managing director Shannon Wells said parts of the track had been damaged by wild weather.
Mr Wells, who provides the main air link to the start of the track, said he wanted to see a 30 per cent growth in tourists taking on the track.
More than 1300 people complete the track each year, and Mr Wells said his business is expanding.
``We've just bought another plane in the last 12 months,'' he said.
The Maria Island Walk director Ian Johnstone said funding for the walking sector was welcomed.
Mr Johnstone recently completed the South Coast Track and described it as ``rich and beautiful''.
He said New Zealand attracts 30,000 walkers a year, something that Tasmania should aspire to.
``The walking sector is a sleeping giant for Tasmania,'' Mr Johnstone said. ``The natural assets are there, but marketing is the key''.
Funding to complete stage three of the Three Caps Track on the Tasman Peninsula has also been promised by the Liberals.
Bass MHA Brian Wightman said Labor was committed to building tourism in parks and reserves, and had already invested into infrastructure over the past four years.
Mr Wightman said Labor would work with tourism operators to develop a Regional Economic Parks Plan, which would encourage appropriate private development within national parks and reserves.