Tourism industry welcomes news of record-breaking visitor numbers

Tasmania’s tourism bodies have welcomed news of record-breaking visitor numbers across the state for 2016. 

Tasmania's East Coast experienced a 10 per cent increase in visitors in 2016.

Tasmania's East Coast experienced a 10 per cent increase in visitors in 2016.

The government announced on Sunday that the state had exceeded 1.2 million visitors for the first time, with the North experiencing a growth of 11 per cent.

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said it was a fantastic result for the entire northern region.

“It’s not only us, it’s the East Coast and Cradle Coast regions as well – it’s absolutely fantastic and evidence that tourists are dispersing away from major cities and spending time in regional Tasmania,” he said.

Mr Griffin said a consistently low Australian dollar and investment in aviation and sea transport in the state had strengthened Tasmania’s appeal as a destination for both interstate and international travelers.

He said Tourism Northern Tasmania was continuing to focus its marketing on four specific groups of visitors – foodies, road-trippers, cyclists and those interested in major events. 

“As our growth continues, it won’t be such a great task to reach that 1.5 million statewide goal by 2020,” Mr Griffin said.

“What we probably need to start doing now is to think about 2025 –what investments we need to put into our infrastructure to achieve the next goal.”

Sunday’s figures also revealed the East Coast was not far behind the North in terms of growth with an increase of 10 per cent last year.

East Coast Regional Tourism Organisation chief executive Ruth Dowty said the region had been experiencing double-digit growth “for some time now”.

“That growth is translating to not only people on the ground but new businesses starting up, people being able to invest in their businesses and just generally a really great buzz on the East Coast,” she said.

“We are continuing to market the destination, but we are also working closely with businesses to see what it is that they’re experiencing on the ground.

“All things bring new challenges so we need to ensure our infrastructure meets demand.”

According to the latest figures, the Cradle Coast region saw a 7 per cent increase in visitors while people travelling by sea was up 11 per cent and travelers arriving by air was up 7 per cent.

Visitors from the United States increased by 13 per cent and more people traveled from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.