Our unemployment levels may not be overly impressive, and our new housing market is slowly contracting.
But there’s one impressive area of Tasmania’s economy that is growing at a incredible rate – and that’s our world-class tourism industry.
There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in this booming industry.
Everywhere you look, good things are happening and it’s a credit to those leading the charge – those making the smart decisions that appear to be paying dividends, and that includes the state government.
In the North of the state, the Launceston Airport celebrated a small win this week after it was named as a finalist in the Special Tourism Services category in the 2016 Tasmanian Tourism Awards.
The airport won the same category two years ago, and went on to claim a silver medal at the national finals.
In the North-East, the recently launched Blue Derby mountain bike trail puts Tasmania at the forefront of international mountain bike tourism. The network was a joint project between the Dorset and Break O’Day councils, with support from the state government.
In the south this week, a $2.9 million upgrade to the Macquarie Wharf means the state will now be able to cater for some of the largest, most luxurious cruise ships in the world, including the incredible Ovation of the Seas, which is expected to dock in Hobart in December. It carries a staggering 4180 passengers and more than 1500 crew.
That injection of that many tourists into our state is incredibly exciting. All this success isn't going unnoticed.
In its October Tasmanian Economic Update, MyState Limited cited the growing level of international tourism as one of the main drivers of strong economic growth for the state.
However, MyState chief financial officer David Harradine did warn that some capacity issues with airlines and areas of weakness in accommodation was restricting the industry in reaching its full potential. And he’s spot on.
Trying catching a morning flight to Sydney out of Launceston Airport midweek for example. These type of issues need addressing with the main air carriers.
We also know that Launceston is crying out for more accommodation, particularly at the top end, with no five-star option available.