Asia state's main tourism foe

TASMANIA is having to compete with Asia to entice mainland Australians to visit, and while it will never be able to compete with Asia's accommodation rates, it can beat it in quality of experience, according to state tourism members.

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association revealed this week that visitors statewide had increased 2 per cent in May.

However, despite the increase, mainlanders are still choosing Asian countries over the Apple Isle, due to low-cost flights and cheap accommodation.

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said Tasmania had to promote its price as being about ``quality of experience''.

Tourism Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin agreed, saying what Tasmania offered was profound.

``It's about us competing on the quality of our product,'' he said.

``We have good access to our state and good quality of our product, whether its Barnbougle, or our food and wine.

``We know what our strengths are and we need to build to those.

``Our problem is we don't have much money to market the place.''

Mr Martin said Tasmania's marketing budget was about $13 million, compared to Northern Territory's $40 million.

He said tourism to the state had been on the rise for the past 18 months and could continue with good promotion of our quality product.

Cradle Coast regional tourism marketing co-ordinator Kylie Scolyer said Tasmania's assets, like its paddock to plate produce, fresh air and icons, such as Cradle Mountain and the Tarkine, put it in a good position to entice mainlanders.

``We, as a region, now need to look at how we can leverage off the consumers coming here to visit Mona and Hobart and surrounds, and find a way to encourage them to head to our end of the state,'' she said.

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