Reaching new limits of tourism potential

cruise-shipBy Tom O’Meara

Tasmania’s tourism boom is encouraging sky-high and deep-sea development to cater for the expected growth in visitors to the state.

A $250 million hotels plan has been unveiled to drastically lift Hobart’s accommodation profile, while nearly $3 million worth of work has been finished to deepen our port infrastructure, to ensure some of the world’s biggest cruise ships can dock in the capital to further boost tourism spending.

Singapore developer Fragrance Group Limited has unveiled two major hotel developments, adding to its existing a 296-­room hotel already under construction in Macquarie Street.

It is now working through council planning processes to gain approval for a 495-­room hotel in Collins Street and an approximately 400­‐room hotel in Davey Street.

A further residential and hotel development in Elizabeth Street is also in the early stages of planning to add to the group’s portfolio in the city.

It’s estimated that the proposed new developments will generate direct and indirect employment

of more than 1200 new jobs during construction and ongoing employment of up to 1000 full-­time

jobs – adding up to $100 million a year to the State’s economy.

Both proposed buildings will be the tallest in Hobart with the Davey Street project comprising 35

storeys and rising to a height of more than 120 metres, and the Collins Street development

comprising 20 storeys and standing 75 metres tall.

The five-­star hotel at 28-­30 Davey Street has been designed as an icon development for Hobart and will include function facilities, retail outlets, restaurants, a day spa, and pool facilities.

Fragrance Group is also keen to realise a long-­held city vision for a Skybridge providing dedicated foot access from the city to the waterfront and to Salamanca Place.

While the hotel proposals still have a long way to go before any sign-off is approved – and will predictably be met with some opposition due to the heights proposed – one totally different project has already been completed to boost tourist numbers coming via sea.

Tasports has finished a $2.9 million bollard, gangway and seabed maintenance project at Macquarie Wharves 2/3, to increase berth depth required by large vessels.

The completed project ensures that Hobart can now accommodate the largest vessel class currently deployed in the Asia-Oceania region – the Quantum class vessels which are approximately 350m in length.

The biggest vessel to visit Tasmania, the Ovation of the Seas, at 348m and carrying 4180 passengers and 1500 crew, will be welcomed into Hobart on December 13.

Her arrival comes as the port of Hobart gets set to experience a 50 per cent increase in the number of ship calls from the previous season.

Tasports is also nearing completion of a $1.5 million berthing and mooring dolphin at the Port of Burnie ahead of the North West’s record-breaking cruise season.

The new mooring dolphin will allow cruise ships of up to 315 metres in length to berth at the Port, a significant increase on the current limit of 280 meters.

Burnie expects 19 cruise ships carrying over 37,000 passengers and crew, an increase from 11 ships last season.

Tourism is also looking up in Launceston.

The sign-off from Launceston City Council to transfer land to UTas for its relocation project has already inspired confidence in the private accommodation sector.

Aldermen approved the partial sale of the Cimitiere St car park to facilitate a multi-million dollar 70-80 room hotel on the site.

Project manager Sam Tucker, of Commercial Project Delivery, said “an innovative” Development Application would be forthcoming within months.

“It will be a different hotel, it’s not going to be a carbon copy of anything that is already here and it’s something that everyone who has been close to is very excited about,” he told The Examiner.

“We certainly have looked at many sites around Launceston and we were interested in that part of Launceston well before the university move was mooted (but) … that vision has only been further enhanced by the likely progression of the University of Tasmania development.”

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