Let’s take care not to spoil what is unique about Tasmania.
I was involved with the Tasmanian Polar Network Chamber of Commerce when TasPorts were hatching their ‘cruise ship vision’ for Hobart back in about 1995. At the time, the fledgling Antarctic Adventure Cruise industry was also coming to life. Now, as it was then, the greater part of the Antarctic cruise industry occurs from the southern tip of South America – from ports such as Ushuaia in Argentina or Punta Arenas in Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula (journeys that take only 2 days to the ice as opposed to 8 days from Hobart). We knew that, to be competitive, a Hobart air link was essential for both science and tourism:how good is it to see that come to fruition 23 years later.
From then to now is a stunning success story, with a doubling of cruise ship visits to Tasmania during the past 2 years and a reported 138 ship visits last year. Combine that with Tasmanian tourism promotions to Asian partner countries in particular, and add the MONA effect and …Wow! look at us now – an explosion of jobs and venues in the hospitality industry statewide as the visitors pour in.
Around the world there are plenty of examples of once unique places now spoiled by a tourism ‘invasion’. I am advised that over 300,000 visitors visited the Freycinet National Park alone in 2017, and most of them found their way to the saddle on the Hazards to view our magnificent Wineglass Bay. Surely we must now be requiring quotas to manage numbers, construct adequate facilities and prepare these amazing places with infrastructure to keep them special and our visitors safe and satisfied.
The 3 Capes Track on the Tasman Peninsula is a great example of planned infrastructure which achieves exactly that – a trend to spectacular places properly prepared for known visitor numbers, who pay their way and ensure that the experience stays special and commercially viable.
Tasmanian entrepreneurs are working this out with impressive new enterprises to keep visitors engaged and spending – such as the terrific Whisky Industry tours to regional areas of our state and the unbelievable growth of the sport of golf in wild places like Barnbougle and King Island.
Let’s take care, however, to match visitor numbers to upgraded regional roads fit for visitors and residents alike with passing bays to keep us all safe, on the Great Eastern Way in particular.
Successive candidates have campaigned for passing lanes between Orford and Swansea for years without success. It’s dangerous without passing lanes, and its time to do something about it!