Loved to death? Tassie national park visits surge

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Wineglass Bay
Can Tassie's pristine environment cope with surging visitor numbers?

The number of people visiting Tasmania’s magnificent national parks is skyrocketing … but opinion is divided over whether that is a good thing or not.

Newly released statistics show visitor numbers are up 7% this year, and the number of people going to parks annually is equivalent to nearly three times the state’s population.

The Mercury newspaper reports that a total of 1.4 million people visited Tasmania’s parks in 2017-18, with 310,000 people visiting Freycinet National Park and strong growth in visits to the Tamar Island Wetlands in Launceston, Highfield House at Stanley, and Tasman Arch on the Tasman Peninsula, as well as Lake St Clair.

“These increases mean that more people are travelling to our regions, adding to our regional economy by staying longer and spending more,” said Premier Will Hodgman. “The Government is committed to making Tasmania the environmental tourism capital of the world and these latest figures show that our plan is working.”

Mr Hodgman said national parks supported 200 nature-based tourism operators who create thousands of jobs for Tasmanians.

However, the Greens warn that the soaring numbers run the risk of destroying the very values that attracted tourists in the first place.

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor told the Mercury that the popularity boom highlighted the need to better manage and preserve the state’s protected areas.

“Under the Hodgman Liberals’ exploitation agenda, set on ever increasing numbers while handing them over to private profiteers and the wealthiest of tourists, they’re at risk of being loved to death,” she said. “If we don’t manage the visitation, we risk degrading or destroying the wilderness that draws people to Tasmania.”

Ms O’Connor said Freycinet in particular was under threat from cruise ship visits, helicopter overflights and projections of 1600 visitors an hour on the Wineglass Bay Track within a decade.

“We know exactly why people are coming from around the world to see Tasmania’s national parks, but they can’t be put at risk by visitation en masse,” she said. “Tasmanians want the beauty and natural values of our parks protected.”

  • Do you think Tasmania’s national parks are at risk of being loved to death? Comment below.

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2 Responses to Loved to death? Tassie national park visits surge

  1. Yeah no…tasmanians need to get used to the idea if they want more money to go into their economy …..ok I do believe that this little island is pristine …but going by those figures over a decade I am pretty sure that it isn’t going to make a huge difference….Tasmanians are a bit precious I feel and really don’t want to share

    • Jean couldn’t agree more. We have been to Tassie twice and while out and about we learned that ‘us mainlanders’ were only good for our money not our presence. We constantly came up against this phenomenon in WA too.

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