Thursday 21st June 2007

Mr Dean
Mr Finch
Mrs Jamieson
Mrs Rattray-Wagner
Ms Ritchie
Mrs Smith (Chair)

Output group 1
1.1 Tourism marketing –

Mr FINCH - Minister, in respect of those figures you mentioned before, with the increases and decreases in various markets, how does the agency respond to that? How do your tourism people respond to that in a marketing sense? Have you targeted where there has been a decrease? Have you targeted to increase your exposure there? Or do you respond in that way? I am touching on your marketing when you get those kind of figures.

Ms MARIANI - Generally, we have a focus on core areas where we know that we will get the biggest results. Our budget is not large enough to target smaller areas. For instance, let us use Western Australia as an example. We do not do a lot of absolute targeted, dedicated marketing within Western Australia. But a lot of what we are seeing happening in some of these other areas now, we attribute to two things really. Firstly, the advertising campaign that we have undertaken this year. We have done both pay television as well as free to air. With free to air you have to purchase regionally. You buy in Melbourne or you buy in Sydney. With pay television you have to buy nationally. So we are getting a presence at a national level by virtue of the investment we are making in cable television, that we would never be able to afford to do exclusively. We could not go out there and buy Western Australia, as well as all the other areas that we are getting.

There is another area that we cannot forget and we will talk about, in fact, the closure of the travel centres, and that is that Tourism Tasmania still maintains nine area sales managers that represent us on the mainland. Even though we do not have the travel centres in Melbourne and Sydney, we in fact have very strong representation on the ground at a national level. We are in fact the only State tourism body that has an area sales team the size that we do, that operates in every single State. Those people work very hard on the ground, particularly our guys in Western Australia. We are seeing the kind of growth that we are getting out of Western Australia and Queensland, where we do not spend huge amounts of our marketing dollar, that we are getting those results from the great work that they do working at the trade in their areas. So the retail network in each of those States across the country is serviced by one of these area sales managers.

Mr FINCH - What work do they do in respect of developing their market? Do they do presentations? Do they work with the travel agents? How extensive is their work?

Ms MARIANI - It is very extensive. These people are dedicated to only building relationships with the trade. That is what they do. They go out and they train travel agent networks like, Flight Centre, Harvey World Travel, Jetset Travel World, American Express Travel Scene. They are all our clients and these guys are on the ground, doing training, doing promotions and working with them. A number of them will have their own travel shows throughout the year so they participate in those travel shows. They have a dedicated focus to ensure that Tasmania maintains a very high profile with very important retail travel network partners across the country.

Mr FINCH - Are there new areas that marketing might be targeting to attract maybe some new types of visitors to Tasmania?

Ms MARIANI - When you say area are you referring to regional areas?

Mr FINCH - Yes, like regional areas out the back of whoop whoop or central New South Wales.

Ms MARIANI - We are spending a lot more time developing the South Australian market. We are starting to see some nice results coming out of that area. We also have the benefit of Virgin flying direct between Adelaide and Hobart at the moment so that gives us a great opportunity to build that market. We are doing a lot more work in south-east Queensland as well and some of our actual marketing and communications activity has specifically targeted those two new areas as growing regional centres.

Mr FINCH - Thank you.
CHAIR - We have talked about different areas. If I might refer to table 12.4 'performance information', last year the actual 'all visitors in' was 865 900. The 2006-07 target was 842 000 presumably because we did not know whether Spirit III may or may not affect the tourist area. Can you tell us if we are on target, looking like above-target of 842 000? What would our 'all visitor' numbers into the State be at two weeks out from the end of the financial year or less?
Ms WRIEDT - The TVA survey comes out quarterly so the most recent figures we have are to the 12 months ending March. We had 812 200 visitors, which was up 1 per cent from the previous 12 months. We anticipate we will be pretty much on target. We have had a large number of conferences over the last couple of months. The Visitor and Convention Bureau have had a very busy May in particular so we probably will be on target.
CHAIR - That is March to March. Can you correlate that into three quarters?
Ms WRIEDT - It is a rolling average. We anticipate that with the figures for the next quarter that will take us to the end of the financial year we will roughly be on target.
CHAIR - Considering the significant work done on international visitors which has been successful et cetera, and I can understand why the target was that, because we did not know what Spirit III may or may not do, is there anything that is showing up with that change you predicted in your target figures for this financial year that was allocated to Spirit ? Is something shown that people have or have not moved from a boat that is now non-existent to driving to Melbourne or utilising air travel?
Ms WRIEDT - There is not anything concrete we can point to say that X, Y or Z has happened as a result of the withdrawal of Spirit III . The day before yesterday, I think it was, the chief executive of the TT-Line indicated that they were 29 per cent up for this particular period compared to last year. There is not anything really that says this is a difference. We have continued to have very strong conference delegates. The AHA put out their figures and they have had the strongest May that they have had and a lot of their members are in regional parts of the State.
CHAIR - So their May figures have improved on their April? Their hotel occupancy figures that they put out in April showed it had dipped sharply for the third year running for an April month. So they are now saying their May figures have improved? Was it just a quirk in April?
Ms WRIEDT - There was a 6 per cent increase if you compare May 2006 to May 2005. They did say April was a very poor result, which is strange considering we still had pretty good weather in April. The intrastate market in April, particularly around Easter, was very strong this year. When you see almost a traffic jam in the main street of Bicheno, and a traffic jam on the boat ramp in Bicheno, you know that -
Mrs RATTRAY-WAGNER - That is the Sunshine Coast though, Minister.
Ms WRIEDT - I travelled around the Sunshine Coast at Easter time and noticed it was particularly buoyant. At Kate's Berry Farm on Easter Tuesday the owner, Kate, said to me that she had had the busiest Easter that she could remember. And I noticed whilst sitting there that the cars coming in were not just locals, they were hire cars and tour buses. So Easter seemed to be particularly buoyant, which is surprising given the AHA's figures.
We need to remember that the AHA figures only count hotels with five rooms or more, so you are not picking up the single operator B & B's that mainly have one or two rooms. So it is not a whole picture. It is a lot of pubs that have greater numbers of rooms. That is why the TVIN figures, whilst we only get them quarterly, tend to be the whole-of-State benchmark that are done on exit surveys and so on.
Mrs JAMIESON - Through you, Minister and Madam Chair - would the numbers of motor homes also affect your hotel numbers?
Ms WRIEDT - Yes.
Mrs JAMIESON - Do we have figures on motor home arrivals?
Ms WRIEDT - I guess the only figures we would have would be through the TT-Line . I do not have those. Again, every time I go to the east coast in particular there are motor homes everywhere.
In the 12 months to September 2006 the number of interstate or international visitors to caravan parks increased by 2 per cent. So that increased to 115 000. That includes people who stay in caravan parks, in motor homes, cabins, tents or campervans. So that is continuing to increase.