Cradle Mountain plan to increase tourism

AN ‘‘EDGY’’ plan to upgrade Cradle Mountain tourist facilities aims to have a similar effect on tourism numbers in Northern Tasmania as the launch of the Spirit of Tasmania.

The master plan, formed over six months and spearheaded by the Cradle Coast Authority, is expected to be launched late this week after stakeholders are briefed.

Premier and Tourism Minister Will Hodgman saw the plan last week and federal MPs will be briefed.

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said the plan was ‘‘the most market-tested concept for tourism’’ ever done in the state.

While expected increases in visitor numbers are yet to be released, it is understood the plan is designed to stimulate a larger influx of visitation to the region.

‘‘This is about turning on a major stimulus for visitors to North and North-West Tasmania,’’ Mr Martin said.

CCA regional tourism manager Ian Waller said the plan would do nothing to invade or impact negatively on the national park.

Mr Hodgman described the plan as ‘‘edgy’’ and ‘‘innovative’’.

It will need state, federal and private investment.

The proposal would help the state government achieve its goal of reaching 1.5 million visitors each year, Mr Hodgman said.

However, the state government needed to determine its cost implications before committing to funding, he said.

Mr Hodgman would not be drawn as to whether he would advocate funding for upgrades as the government discussed support for the plan.

‘‘We’ve just received a briefing and at first glance it’s a very exciting proposal – it’s innovative, it’s edgy,’’ he said.

‘‘Cradle Mountain is iconic and we want to ensure that keeps pace with one of our fastest-growing industries.’’

The state government’s support depended partly on federal government and private co-investment, Mr Hodgman said.

Cradle Mountain visitation will exceed 200,000 this financial year, however, it is losing market share to other Tasmanian destinations, Mr Waller said.

‘‘We can’t allow that to continue,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to reinvigorate it.’’

An alpine village-style centre on a disused air strip at Cradle Mountain is thought to form a key part of the ambitious master plan.

A gondola transporting visitors to Dove Lake was previously one of several options being market tested to improve traffic flow and visitor experiences at Cradle Mountain.

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