Having now served as chair for nearly 12 months, I'm both pleased and proud of the work of Tourism Tasmania in what has been a terrific year for tourism in the state.
My appointment coincided with the election of a new government and along with it a new vision for tourism and a new goal of attracting 1.5 million visitors a year by 2020.
At the same time, the Tasmanian Government made Tourism Tasmania a standalone agency, giving us the independence to respond quickly to emerging opportunities and greater creative freedom to promote the state.
This independence complements our earlier move away from being a full-service State Tourism Organisation to streamline our operations and better focus on marketing.
Of course, we know there are many reasons why people visit the state – not just for holidays – and Tourism Tasmania on its own is unlikely to achieve this target. We also know there are constraints to growth that if not addressed will further compromise our ability to reach our goal.
To grow total visitation we need to rely on the work of a range of stakeholders, not just Tourism Tasmania. That's why the Tasmanian Government's approach recognises the importance of all partners in achieving our target.
With Tourism Tasmania's move away from industry support, the Department of State Growth has taken on supply-side development. This reallocation of responsibilities will ensure our industry continues to meet the expectations of our visitors.
The capacity to communicate and operate at the local level is also vitally important and that's why the government is committing to a new three-year funding agreement with our regional tourism organisations (RTOs). Our RTOs not only fulfil a critical role in providing marketing and distribution opportunities, and industry development for their local tourism operators but also act as advocates for their region.
We are also working closely with the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT), the peak industry body for Tasmania's tourism operators.
T21 (previously Tourism 21) is the partnership agreement between the Tasmanian tourism industry represented by TICT and the Government of Tasmania. Building on the success of previous agreements, T21 – The Tasmanian Visitor Economy Strategy 2015-2020 is expected to be finalised in October. The new agreement will provide strategic direction and help align the future investment of government resources and industry to better achieve the strategy's shared goals.
The revised strategy is a timely and natural extension of the Tourism 21 approach. By identifying and elevating the value of increased visitation to Tasmania across all sectors of the Tasmanian economy, the government is placing visitors at the core of Tasmania's economic agenda.
Having previously undertaken a major refocus in our strategic intent and restructured our operations, along with our more recent move to a stand-alone agency, Tourism Tasmania is now well placed to drive demand and help achieve our new priorities for the state.
I thank Grant Hunt, the previous chair for his leadership and Brett Torossi for acting as chair in the interim. I also thank the Minister for Tourism for his support and of course, John as CEO and his dedicated staff for their hard work in achieving such impressive results over this past year. I look forward to an even more exciting year ahead.
Chair Tourism Tasmania