Grey nomads and other visitors to one of the jewels in Tasmania’s tourism crown are to be hit with an extra charge.
From November 15, anyone over the age of 18 using the Cradle Mountain shuttle bus service – which has been free since it was introduced a couple of decades ago – will now have to pay $15 for the privilege.
The service takes visitors from the information centre to Dove Lake and is intended to help protect the area by limiting the number of vehicles accessing the park. Vehicle access into the park is only permitted outside of shuttle bus operating hours.
Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) says it costs them more than $3 million dollars to operate each year.
The $15 ticket will be valid for 72 hours to be used in conjunction with a parks pass. An annual shuttle bus ticket will also be available for $45.
PWS says it believes ‘$15 for a return transport service for three days to access this iconic World Heritage Area site represents really good value for money’.
More than 300,000 people visit the park each year and approximately 80% of them are interstate or international tourists.
“Importantly, this cost recovery initiative means that parks pass revenue is reinvested directly into maintaining critical infrastructure and protecting Tasmania’s natural and cultural values,” PWS said.
The ABC reports that the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania has requested a meeting with Parks and Wildlife to discuss the fee change and its impact on tourism at the iconic mountain.
“We’ll be seeking further information about its intended outcome, how it will work, and how it will impact visitors and locals,” chief executive Amy Hills said. “This may have come as a shock to some in the area and in the community and I think we need to do better and the Parks and Wildlife Service and government need to do better in terms of explaining what they’re trying to achieve.”
But Ms Hills told the ABC she didn’t believe the extra fee would be a deterrent for visitors.
“We know that visitors who are coming to our state many of them really value sustainability, and the importance of protecting the environment, so I’d be hopeful that they’d be willing and quite able to pay that $15 fee when they’re travelling on the shuttle,” she said.
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