Loans scheme has merits for Launceston

Tourism operators have been given a boost this week with the announcement of a new loans scheme from the state government.

Premier Will Hodgman announced the low-interest loans scheme for Tasmanian accommodation businesses who are ready to revamp their offerings.

The government is staking up $20 million in the loans scheme, which will be doled out in amounts between $50,000 and $1.5 million, with a concessional rate of 3.26 per cent.

Only established accommodation businesses will be able to access the loans – those who operate under the sharing economy won’t be able to apply.

Industry experts say the loans are “absolutely fabulous” for the state’s small to medium-sized operators.

Operators behind the case study for the media launch, the Argosy Motor Inn at Devonport, say they hope to receive a $1.5 million loan to refurbish their three-star accommodation to a four-star level.

It’s hoped that, in particular, businesses in Tassie’s regional centres will benefit greatly from the loan scheme.

And in Launceston, it’s sure to be welcomed with open arms.

Figures from the Tasmanian Hospitality Association released earlier this year show the demand for accommodation in the North has risen year-on-year.

From December 2015 to 2016, the annual occupancy rate rose 1.17 per cent.

We’ve heard on and off the record about the need for more accommodation, and more accommodation options, in greater Launceston.

We have a raft of new hotels in the pipeline.

Most recently, Hotel Verge, has been announced for Launceston’s City Park precinct, boasting 78 rooms.

Also in the pipeline is Errol Stewart’s Silo Hotel, and the JAC Group’s TRC Hotel.

That’s why these loans are a good thing for Launceston’s accommodation businesses.

While we do have a future of new accommodation for the city, one of the city’s drawcards is its history.

It will be great to see some of the hotels and B&Bs given a lift, and returned to the splendour that they once held.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with them – it’s just the demands of the accommodation market have changed.

Launceston has an exciting future, and want everyone to be able to experience it.