This year has been a very exciting year for tourism in Tasmania. We have seen our brave approach contribute to visitation to the state increasing consistently over the previous four quarters. This increase in visitor numbers is good news for our tourism industry and good news for Tasmania.
This past financial year we have seen a total of 1 057 900 visitors to Tasmania by regular air and sea access. This is a record number of visitors and amounts to a 10 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Add to this around 150 000 cruiseship visitors and it's clear our prospects for the future look bright.
It also means we're well placed to meet our long-term growth target of 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020. It is wonderful to see our holiday market is growing strongly with a 25 per cent increase compared to the previous year and we've experienced significant growth in our regions ensuring the benefits of growth are being spread across the whole of the state and not just our major centres.
Our consumer research also confirms strong consideration for holidaying in Tasmania with plenty of opportunity for further growth and good indications for a positive season ahead.
To help achieve this target, the Tasmanian Government has legislated to make Tourism Tasmania a stand-alone State Authority, giving it greater independence of decision-making within government and greater flexibility in setting and achieving its business objectives.
The provision of significant additional funding to extend Tourism Tasmania's marketing reach is a further sign of the government's confidence and commitment to increasing the economic value of tourism to the state.
Of course, Tourism Tasmania alone cannot have a lasting impact without the support, commitment and entrepreneurial insight of our industry operators – those responsible for exceeding our visitors' expectations and giving them the quality of service and diversity of experiences they expect from a world-class destination.
That's why our partnership with the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT), plays such an important role in us achieving our long-term goals. And it's the reason why this year we reviewed the priorities and targets of Tourism 21, our shared strategy to improve the performance, competitiveness and structural efficiency of Tasmania's tourism industry.
Building on this strong foundation and the brave approach over these past few years, with our regional tourism model, our new direction to digital marketing, leveraging of our diverse events and festivals and the development of a new depth of understanding of our tourism brand for Tasmania, we're confident that the best is yet to come.
I would like to welcome Mark Jones and Guy Taylor to the team and thank Kath McCann and Adam Sproule for all they contributed to our organisation and industry. I thank the previous Chair, Mr Grant Hunt for his inspiring leadership as Chairman of the Board, my fellow board members for their passion and engaged dedication, CEO John Fitzgerald for his strong leadership and expertise. I thank each and every one of Tourism Tasmania's extraordinary staff for their commitment and hard work in helping to grow a vital and sustainable tourism industry for Tasmania.
Acting Chair Tourism Tasmania