New planes a tourism opportunity

EMPHASISING location and offering more off-peak attractions are needed to make the most of bigger planes about to fly into Launceston, say tourist leaders.

QantasLink has announced that from August 17, 50-seat planes flying to Launceston and Devonport will be replaced by larger 74-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft.

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffith said the airline must see the centres as growth opportunities, and the areas should do what they could to support the decision.

"What we need to do collectively is to reinforce that Launceston and Northern Tasmania are the best starting points for a Tasmanian holiday," he said.

"If you arrive in Launceston, you are in better proximity to key attractions."

Added to that, he said both areas needed to work hard to develop off- peak cultural and sporting events, to boost visitor numbers in quieter months.

He said it was interesting that QantasLink, and not the other Qantas brand of Jetstar, had the capacity boost.

That indicated there could be increased business interest in Northern Tasmania, so it was important to also push for more conferences.

Community leaders, including the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, have highlighted the importance of attracting more conferences to the city.

Chamber executive officer Maree Tetlow said the bigger planes would help with that push.

She said the chamber was working with the state government to have a conference manager based in Launceston.

She said conference organisers had particular needs, such as wanting venues that could seat hundreds of people for meals, and delegates wanting authentic Tasmanian experiences.

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