Regional tourism decline prompts call for talks

Dorset Mayor Barry Jarvis

Dorset Mayor Barry Jarvis

THREE-WAY negotiations should be held between private operators, state and local government to stop declining visitor numbers in regional areas, according to a state tourism chief.

Tourism Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said attracting private operators with well-maintained facilities, funded by a mix of local and state government, could stimulate visitation to regional Tasmania.

"Certainly trying to stimulate some investment in regional areas, particularly nature tourism experiences, is critical for those regions to keep pace with the cities," Mr Martin said.

"It's about having basic, good quality infrastructure, that's part of it, but also what you could do to encourage a tourism operator in there to provide ways for people to gain more from the experience and, perhaps, link that to other areas around the region."

However, the federal government's proposition to freeze indexation of financial assistance grants means some councils are already struggling to maintain their own assets, according to Dorset Mayor Barry Jarvis.

"I've got no issue around contributing to assets," Cr Jarvis said.

"If they show a direct economic benefit for our community, we would look at it.

"We've got to be seen to be spending money on what affects the well-being and life of the community - we can't do what we should with our own assets, let alone others, unless there's a direct correlation to community."

He said he believed councils would have to start reassessing their roles and involvement with non-core commitments in light of tougher economic times and lessened federal funding.

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