International visitors an opportunity for hotel operators in Tasmania

Visitors to Tasmania staying in commercial accommodation grew more than 11 per cent last year according to the latest International Visitor Survey results.

Across the country the industry is responding with investment to what the Tasmanian Hospitality Association’s general manager Steve Old says is a “growth opportunity”.

“Typically we haven’t marketed as much to international visitors because we don’t have an international airport or flights direct to our state,” he said. “But as we continue to see our airport upgraded, we can continue to push hard for international flights, and I believe we will see a huge increase in international visitors to our state once this occurs”

The number of international visitors to Australia was 7,624,665 with Korea and Japan leading the way with 24 per cent annual growth, followed by China and the USA. The total international visitor spend grew 7 per cent to reach $39.1 billion.

Across all states there was a reduction in the average number of nights spent visitors stayed, with Tasmania dropping from 12 to 11.

“If we want people to stay longer in Tasmania, it’s not just about Hobart, it’s about getting people out and exploring all the great places the whole state has to offer and that is why projects such as Cradle Mountain are so important for our state” Mr Old said. “Good projects like that being done at the Silo’s by Errol Stewart in Launceston are what we need to make sure our regional areas can become major drawcards for the international and interstate visitors.”

Tourism Accommodation Australia chief executive Carol Giuseppi said record levels of investment would revolutionise the hotel industry over the next five years.

“Already the industry supports over 184,000 full time equivalent jobs directly,” she said. “However, future investment could be jeopardised by the growth of unregulated accommodation which has no barriers to entry, little transparency and few controls.” Mr Old said commercial operators wanted short-term suppliers to be on a level playing field.