Group says Spirit fares over-priced

A MOTORHOME group is calling on the Spirit of Tasmania to drop its prices and improve access for the official vehicle of the grey nomad. 

The Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia said travelling on the Spirit was over-priced and members were having trouble getting a ride on the Melbourne to Devonport ferry.  

Spirit owner, TT-Line, backed by the Tasmanian Tourism Industry Council, denied this was the case. 

``We want to make sure those fees are reasonably priced because if anyone goes to the island at the moment at a minimum it's going to cost them $1500 to get  there,'' CMCA general manager Richard Barwick said.

``People look at the pricing structure from the mainland and they say, `it's too expensive I can go to Perth for this'.''

Don Mackrill, from CMCA Tasmania, said some motor-homers were having to wait up to six weeks to get on a departing Spirit. 

``The bottom line is we are losing things like forestry and Tasmania is going to become more and more reliant on the tourist dollar,'' Mr Mackrill said. 

``If we don't provide the resources for people to get across and enjoy their stay  in Tasmania that is another industry that is going to slack off.''

Tourism council chief executive Luke Martin said the reality was motor-homers and caravan owners could get to Tasmania at ``very competitive rates''.

``It is only (the) exception -  where people generally have the big, long RVs and want to travel  on the same weekend - where you get the well-noted $2000 night a trip,'' Mr Martin said. 

``To suggest that it's just outlandishly expensive to travel on the Spirit, I don't think that is supported by the reality.''

He said claims that increased freight was reducing room for motorhomes was a red herring and freight actually allowed TT-Line to offer cheaper travel to passengers. 

``TT-Line does not favour freight over passengers,'' a TT-Line spokeswoman said.

``September, October and November is a high demand period for the movement of car and caravan combinations and motorhomes and campers.

``As is the case with any mode of transport, people should book early to ensure they can book their preferred date of travel at the best possible price.''

Last week it was revealed the Spirit suffered a 16 per cent drop in outbound passengers according to the 2011-12 Tasmanian Visitor Survey.

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