Tourism in Tasmania is booming and the associated financial spin off is pushing the state’s business economy into record breaking territory.
Tills are ringing right across the state, with small businesses on the verge of turning over a billion dollars in a single year for the first time.
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania figures show that since September 2015, spending in Tasmania’s 2000 or so tourism businesses has increased 23 per cent to nearly a billion dollars in the 12 months to September 2018.
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania Chairman Daniel Leesong said accommodation and transport services accounted for the majority of tourism spending in Tasmania (about $1.5 billion of the nearly $2.5 billion expenditure).
But, hundreds of unique producers, providores, tour guides and venues, among others, are also seeing the benefits of a buoyant sector.
“It’s exciting to see that the more retail-orientated tourism businesses are in the midst of a billion dollar boom of their own,” he said.
“This shows the tourism industry is absolutely fundamental to the economic fabric of Tasmania.
“It’s bigger than the value of salmon and forestry industry exports combined.”
New ventures are literally flying high.
Above and Beyond’s seaplane hit the skies above Hobart early in summer, offering passengers scenic flights over Hobart and to hot spots like Three Capes, Stewart’s Bay, Bruny Is, Pumphouse Point at Lake St Clair and Saffire at Freycinet.
Gerald and Henry Ellis started Above and Beyond to bring something unique to the Derwent and the skies of Tasmania.
More destinations are already being added and there are plans to add more aircraft to the fleet.
“We have just been given approval to operate into Bathurst Harbour, Port Davey and Lake Pedder, we are waiting on similar approval to come through for Lake St Clair, Maria Island and Freycinet Peninsula,” Henry said.
“We are hoping this will come through within the next three to four weeks,” he said.
TICT CEO Luke Martin said there were many opportunities for new businesses in the state.
“It’s important that we continue to look for innovative ways to develop and diversify our industry and share what is really special about Tasmania,” Mr Martin said.
Destination Southern Tasmania CEO Alex Heroys said the new service was just the latest in a wave of new developments coming on line that were aimed at high-value, high-yielding customers.
“There are other new examples on the market that are aimed at this type of customer – the Tas Walking Company’s Three Capes Lodge Walk and the incredible Evolve Spirit Bar at MACq01 hotel, to name two,” he said.
“In the year ending September 2018, we welcomed 1.3 million visitors who stayed more nights and spent a record $2.4 billion in our communities, up 4 per cent from previous year.”
The industry is set to be even further enhanced, with the eyes of the nation’s tourism leaders to be focused on the state when Launceston’s Cataract Gorge hosts 800 at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on March 1.