Tasmania’s peak tourism body is calling on the State Government to work with airport operators and the tourism industry in securing more flights and greater access directly into North West Tasmania.

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania CEO, Luke Martin, said that greater air access into the North West was critical to achieving the Government and tourism industry’s goal of encouraging regional dispersal.

“The North West’s airports are the key to building a stronger visitor economy in regional Tasmania,” Mr Martin said.

“With Hobart and Launceston airports pushing ahead with growing capacity and major capital improvements, its critical the airports on the North-West maintain and grow their own market share.

Mr Martin said while the replacement of the Spirit of Tasmania ships in 2021 was the region’s greatest opportunity to increase access, the airports at Wynyard and Devonport are capable of helping to drive continued growth and increase regional dispersal.

“The North West Coast is ideally placed to help grow tourism in Tasmania, because the infrastructure can facilitate increased demand, which will also help take pressure off other parts of the State, and bring visitors directly into Tasmania’s tourism heartland.”

“If we are going to sustain growing visitor numbers, we need to spread them right around the State and that starts with how they arrive in Tasmania.  It’s no good saying that we want more visitors to the North West Coast without doing everything we can to help grow arrivals at the region’s airports.

“Now’s the time to get the groundwork in place.  The Cradle Mountain redevelopment is going to be a real game-changer for the State and we need to support flagship investments like this by making sure we open up access to support growing visitor demand.

“We need the State Government, councils and the tourism industry working together with both of the airports to increase flights and potentially even new routes, such as a direct flight to Sydney.”

Mr Martin said that the North West was well placed to drive increasing visitor numbers into the future but only if everyone worked together.