22 September 2011
of the Legislative Council
FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam
President, you seldom hear about Tasmania's tourism industry these
days without it being linked to phrases like 'gloomy outlook' and
'downturn'. We have just had the economic development briefing. I had
a look at the list of the opportunities to maximise Tasmania's
economic potential in key sectors and I noticed that tourism ran a
very poor last in there. It was not what we discovered when we did
our investigations on the tourism industry, particularly in New
Zealand. But I would argue that this gives a false impression and I
would like to detail some recent meetings on tourism shortly,
particularly one that was held by the West Tamar Chamber of Commerce
in my electorate of Rosevears.
is not all gloom in the Tasmanian tourism industry. Recent figures
show that while numbers of visitors to Tasmania were down, income
from tourists was in fact up. Another glimmer of light at the end of
the tunnel, Madam President, is the drop in the Aussie dollar in the
past few days. The prediction is that our dollar is likely to be back
below parity with the US dollar for many months to come and this is
good news for the Tasmanian tourism industry. Not only will Tasmania
appear a little cheaper for overseas visitors, but the surge in
Australians heading overseas because of the strength of our dollar
will slow slightly and they may head to Tasmania instead.
signs aside, Madam President, there is optimism and enthusiasm in the
Tasmanian industry and Tasmania's unique attractions have certainly
not diminished. A report by consultants for Tourism Tasmania on
northern Tasmania, published in May, indicated the picture is not as
bad as it is painted. Some graphs were fairly flat, but some showed
steady climbs, such as interstate visitors and Tasmania's share of
all interstate trips. Northern Tasmania was well above the northern
interstate average for visitors aged 45 to 65 and of course they are
the big spenders who carry a lot of money around at nights. Is that
right, honourable member for Windermere?
Dean - Yes, that is
FINCH - I just wanted to
make sure you were listening. What were the things that were most
important to these visitors? How did they rate the most important
things? Well, here they are: a world-class natural setting;
accommodation that enhances the natural environment; and information
available on the net. These categories were well above the national
average for visitors to northern Tasmania. So were satisfaction
ratings. In fact, Tasmania rated number 3 in Australia for very
satisfied visitors and that was well ahead of the big States.
growth predictions in the report, though, were not brilliant - 1 to 3
per cent over the coming years. But the limiting factor was outbound
travel and, as I indicated earlier, the outlook there has improved in
mentioned the West Tamar Chamber of Commerce Tourism Forum which was
held on 7 September 2011 with, I might say, a wonderful keynote
Forrest - Self-praise is
a vain praise.
FINCH - No, no, no; it
was somebody else.
PRESIDENT - And you have
two minutes left.
FINCH - The Chamber has
set up the West Tamar Tourism Committee and has many ideas for
furthering tourism in my electorate and beyond. I am sure the
honourable member for Windermere will appreciate some of the things
that came from the seminar because it featured four working groups:
hospitality, food and wine sectors - that was the first category;
accommodation; then attractions; and then services. They each looked
very closely at problems and ideas.
member for Windermere, no-one was looking just on my side of the
Tamar. There is a strong agreement that the Tamar Valley must be
treated as a whole, which includes your electorate of Windermere and
the member for Launceston's electorate as well. In fact one of the
recommendations from the forum was that there should be only one
tourism brochure for the Tamar Valley, and there were ideas for
branding and promoting the valley as a whole.
a few ideas and recommendations that stand out: create a Tamar Valley
brand and promote it online and in magazines with links to all
tourism and local government sites.
Forrest - Will they put a
part of the pulpmill in it, do you reckon?
FINCH - I do not want to
go down that track, I will another time.
the Tamar Valley track from Launceston to Low Head via the east
Tamar, crossing the river to Greens Beach and back up the west Tamar
to Launceston, and of course some of this track is already there,
with the Beauty Point to Beaconsfield track recently opened. Other
ideas are too numerous to detail, Madam President, but many of them
will enhance the new regional tourism structure for northern Tasmania
being established over the next 12 months or so. This new body is
being very carefully planned and the hope is that it will rectify
many mistakes of the past, such as fragmentation and duplication of
effort in tourism promotion.
like that held by the West Tamar Chamber of Commerce earlier this
month do not represent fragmentation or duplication. There cannot be
too much discussion about the tourism industry, as long as ideas are
strongly communicated and there is sufficient cooperation and
coordination. If we have a properly structured new regional tourism
body for northern Tasmania to listen and act, we will have gone a
long way towards making our tourism industry more efficient because
the economy of the Tamar Valley, let me assure you, because of
mitigating circumstances, does depend on it and we would like to see
tourism moved up that list a little further.