Free camps may be on way out, but Tassie is booming!

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Cradle Coast
Tasmania's Cradle Coast is quickly gaining in popularity with visitors. PIC: Cradle Coast

While many grey nomads are deeply concerned about free camping opportunities in Tasmania potentially being severely reduced, tourism in general to the Apple Isle appears to be booming.

The latest Tasmanian Visitor Survey shows the total number of interstate visitors to Tasmania for the year ending December 2018 was 1.11 million, which is up 5% from 1.06 million the previous year.

Visitor expenditure is also up 5% to $2.46 billion.

Some 85% of visitors were from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Some 469,000 came from Victoria,  301,900 from New South Wales, and 171,600 from Queensland.

Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman, welcomed the new statistics and said they also showed tourists spent a record amount in local communities

“While we have seen continued steady visitor growth, the Government understands we must protect what is special about our way of life so it can continue to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike,” he said. “Tourism is one of Tasmania’s great competitive strengths, supporting over 38,000 jobs in every corner of the State and is a major reason why our economy is growing so strongly … now is not the time to put the handbrake on this vital industry.”

The statistics also show that Tassie’s northwest is the region growing the quickest in popularity, with a 4% rise in visitor numbers. The Cradle Coast region — from Latrobe to the Circular Head and down the West Coast — welcomed 529,000 visitors, compared to 508,100 for the same period in 2017.

In comparison visitor numbers on Tasmania’s east coast were down 3%.

The Cradle Coast Authority (CCA) said it will continue to lobby hard for a new fund to be made available to allow local tourism operators build on their businesses.

“These results validate the hard work of our operators and everybody else who contributes to the visitor economy,” Cradle Coast Authority CEO Daryl Connelly said. “We are very focused on maintaining the momentum and making sure that visitation is spread right across the region.”

Last month, new rules handed down from Tasmania’s Department of Treasury and Finance meant that all local authorities involved in providing campsites would now have to compete on fair and equal terms with private sector businesses. There are growing fears that that will effectively mean the majority of the state’s hugely popular free camping sites closing down.

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8 Responses to Free camps may be on way out, but Tassie is booming!

  1. How many of these interstate visitors are van towing nomads and how many are straight tourist either fly drive or tour groups or back packers.

  2. The average Grey Nomad is looking for low cost camping and not Caravan Parks as this way they have money to spare for the other businesses in the area. Come on Tassy don’t ruin our reputation for a “Great place to visit “. Welcome the Tourists and make sure they come back.

  3. The above information is up until now, this will change when their ban on free/low cost camping takes effect.
    The ones that will be affected will be the small businesses that depend on the RV trade.
    Our last trip to Tasmania for 6 weeks we stayed 5 nights in caravan parks the rest of the time was free/low cost camping.
    The Tasmanian government need to look at the real reasons why RV people go to Tassie and not be guided by the greedy caravan park operators.

  4. If tourism is booming in Tasmania..Why change things by banning free or low cost camping. Surely you don’t fix something that’s not broken. Have something for everyone’s financial capacity. You can dine in five star restaurants, have a counter meal, have take away or have a sandwich in the park. Why shouldn’t there be choices in accommodation. Are all businesses serving meals eventually going to say you can’t pack your own lunch it’s doing them out of business.

  5. We have been in Tassie for 5 1/2 months now with 6 weeks to go before returning to NSW. During this period we have spent over $15,000 not including the trip on the Spirit. Low Head and Miena are the only two caravan parks we have stayed in. Low cost or free camping is our choice. Tasmania is a beautiful state with options of tourists to stay in caravan parks, low cost or free. Low cost or free camping allows us to spend money in those little towns visiting the tourist attractions and shops and cafes. Thank you

  6. As a Tasmanian, it is beyond my comprehension why Caravan Park owners have so much clout over politicians! We do well in Tasmania by currently providing choice to our grey nomad tourists – no one sector should be able to stop this choice, motivated presumably by poorly run or very expensive caravan parks that aren’t competitive….

    • Hi
      It will be interesting to see what happens over the next months as every person/persons/caravanner that enters Tas does so by air or sea very easy to keep check on and if numbers start to diminish or businesses other than caravan parks start to suffer you can only hope than our polies don’t listen to excuses and do something sensible to stop any problems

  7. Just spent 3 months in tassie, what a great trip and a great place. We needed more time to see everythig, so will return to as will a lot we met, but only if we can free camp. We supported all the small towns and thats how they servive.

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