With the number of visitors to Tasmania continuing to grow and the government and industry’s Tasmanian Visitor Economy Strategy generating good results, we’re well on track to meeting our 2020 targets.
Over this past year, we saw record visitor numbers, record visitor spending, and record air and sea passenger access. We also saw more visitors to our regions and a higher level of business confidence with an overall increase in tourism employment.
Our industry is investing in new high quality and innovative tourism products and experiences like the world-first MACq 01 storytelling hotel and the Blue Derby Pods. New products like these contribute to the Tasmania brand, and right now we have a substantial pipeline of new tourism products and experiences being developed around the state that will continue to enhance and project our brand story globally.
I congratulate our industry on their investment in our visitor economy and welcome their commitment to creating experiences that contribute to our tourism brand.
The government’s strong commitment to Tasmania’s visitor economy is also paying dividends. Through it’s increased budget investment in tourism marketing, we were able to allocate and spend $16 million in 2016-17 directly on our marketing programs. This has provided us with the opportunity to expand our efforts and deliver the marketing activities highlighted in this year’s annual report. And while Tourism Tasmania’s main focus is to create demand for leisure travel to Tasmania and to improve access for those wanting to come here, we know the ongoing benefits extend well beyond the tourism sector and continue well after our visitors return home.
A vibrant tourism sector generates economic, social and cultural benefits for all Tasmanians. More flights and better roads, new and exciting accommodation, better parks infrastructure, and vibrant local festivals and events aren’t just for tourists; they create local jobs, pride in our island and help make Tasmania a more enjoyable place for us all.
Tasmania’s record performance gives us much to celebrate. We know however, that this success is not without risk and we need to make sure the benefits of tourism are not gained at the expense of the destination itself or the social well-being of our local communities. As global demand for Tasmania continues to grow and more investors, developers and tourism operators engage in the sector, we need to make sure our increased popularity doesn’t undermine the many natural and social benefits that Tasmanians enjoy and that make our island so appealing to others. This is especially true of a tourism offer based around the natural environment and historical-cultural heritage.
And it’s not just the physical assets of our island we need to preserve. Tasmania is well known for its warm and welcoming culture and the story telling of our locals underpins much of our marketing effort. For this to continue, Tasmanians need to see the benefits of a successful visitor economy and we as a board need to get the balance right between growing visitor numbers and preserving our uniquely Tasmanian lifestyle.
I thank the Premier and Minister for Tourism, Will Hodgman, for his strong support. I also thank our board of directors for their extensive knowledge of tourism and business acumen, CEO John Fitzgerald for his leadership in guiding Tourism Tasmania as an innovative, responsive, and results-driven organisation and the staff for their hard work and commitment towards achieving our strategic goals.
Chair Tourism Tasmania