Tasmania breaks visitor record

Northern Tasmania was the standout performer in terms of tourism in 2016, as the state exceeded 1.2 million visitors for the first time.

Total visitor numbers in the state grew by 7 per cent last year, with visitor spending increasing by 10 per cent to $2.14 billion. 

Premier Will Hodgman said the growth put Tasmania ahead of the 5 per cent growth rate required annually to reach the state’s tourism target of 1.5 million visitors by 2020.

The figures, which Mr Hodgman said confirmed Tasmania as a “tourism mecca”, were released on Sunday and were from the latest Tasmanian Visitor Survey. 

“Our regions are sharing in the benefits of the tourism boom with Northern Tasmania the standout performer recording an 11 per cent increase in visitor numbers, the East 10 per cent, and Cradle Coast 7 per cent,” Mr Hodgman said.

People arriving by air increased by 7 per cent, while sea visitors grew 11 per cent.

Mr Hodgman said the increase in visitors choosing to travel by boat was driven by the state’s “massively successful” TT-Line upgrade. 

Both Spirit of Tasmania vessels were refurbished in 2015, and TT-Line experienced record-breaking numbers earlier this year.

Releasing figures in February, Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said the Spirits of Tasmania had carried 79,920 passengers in January – the highest January figure in the company’s history. 

Sunday’s figures also revealed international visitors increased by 11 per cent across the year in 2016.

“The USA remains our biggest market and is up 13 per cent with major increases also experienced in Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia,” Mr Hodgman said. 

“However, we know that to stay ahead of the pack we need to be constantly evolving and growing our tourism offering, which is why we are supporting important initiatives like the exciting Cradle Mountain Master Plan.”