News that Tasmania has recorded the highest rate of growth for international tourists in Australia comes as no surprise to tourism operator Tara Howell.
Co-owner of the Blue Derby Pods, a three-day guided ride of the Blue Derby mountain bike trails, Mrs Howell said many of the bookings made for the retreat were from overseas.
Those bookings have formed part of a record 279,000 international visitors to Tasmania across the year ending December 2017, an 18 per cent increase compared to the year before.
Just about to reach its first birthday, Mrs Howell said the Blue Derby Pods had been a huge success, in part to the large numbers of international visitors, as well as the support from the community and other tourism ventures.
“What has really surprised us is where bookings are coming from,” Mrs Howell said.
“All our marketing has been targeted to mainland Australia, particularly the eastern seaboard, and we’ve seen a really strong demand in that area.
“We’ve also had bookings from all around the world, UK and US in particular.
“I think there is a lot to credit to that demand, and it’s not us – we haven’t done any marketing in that area, but Blue Derby and Derby in particular has such world recognition now, especially because of the Enduro World Series.
“And that brand is doing some of our marketing for us, and Tasmania as well.”
The massive increase included “exceptional growth” from China, Canada, Germany and the USA, with a 60 per cent rise in Chinese visitors.
Most notably, international leisure visitors were staying an average 12.3 nights in the state, compared to an average 8.6 per cent of nights stayed by domestic leisure visitors.
The figures, from the latest International Visitor Survey completed by Tourism Research Australia, also show international visitors spent a record $497 million in Tasmania.
Tourism Tasmania chief executive John Fitzgerald said the organisation embedded marketing managers in international Eastern and Western markets to promote the state.
Mr Fitzgerald said the organisation took a “refreshed” approach to marketing for international audiences, which was increasing Tasmania’s brand awareness and travel bookings.