Visitors to Tasmania top million

WORD of mouth has done more to help Tasmania attract a record 1 million visitors in the past 12 months than advertising campaigns.

The tourism industry was yesterday celebrating the latest figures showing slightly more than 1 million people - up 15 per cent on the previous 12 months - made the trip to Tasmania, excluding cruise ship visitors.

The South benefited the most with a 15 per cent jump, while the North's visitor numbers were up 10 per cent. 

Tourists also spent more while in the state, pumping $1.5 billion into the economy. 

Tourism Tasmania chief executive officer John Fitzgerald said Tasmania was continuing to benefit from being a ``hot spot''.

``I think Tassie's got a bit of a light shining on it at the moment,'' Mr Fitzgerald said.

``I think we understand our customers better and I think we're delivering the experiences they want,'' he said.

He said Tasmania gained more visitors through word of mouth than the rest of the country. 

``People come here because of recommendation more than any other state or territory in Australia,'' he said.

``Social media is the powerhouse of that word of mouth.''

Tourism Tasmania plans to build on the momentum preparing to launch an autumn advertising blitz - the third instalment of the Go Behind the Scenery campaign - and a new website to replace the existing 12-year-old site.

``Over 50 per cent of the new content on the new website will be generated by consumers themselves so it's a big leap forward,'' Mr Fitzgerald said. 

Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said yesterday it was encouraging visitors were travelling to the regions as well as the state's capital.

``Tourism growth for the regions is showing double digit growth and this will bring significant benefits to our regional tourism businesses,'' Mr Bacon said.

More events in the colder months, such as Dark MOFO, contributed to a particularly big jump in tourists during winter compared with the same time the previous year. 


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