The new Geelong terminal for the Spirit of Tasmania is taking shape, with tourism experts predicting the new facility is going to be a ‘game changer’ for the region.
TT-Line decided some time ago to move the Spirit’s Victorian port from Port Melbourne to Victoria … and it’s on track to be operational some time between September and November this year.
Many grey nomads are excited about the perceived easier access it will give them to the port, and expected improvements in efficiency.
The Geelong Times reports that the 12-hectate precinct will feature a new passenger terminal, marshalling area for up to 600 passenger vehicles, and upgraded berthing, boarding and mooring facilities.
A key feature of the terminal will be the world-class three-level access ramp, which will allow cars, caravans and heavy vehicles to board and disembark the Spirit simultaneously.
GeelongPort chief executive Brett Winter said the new terminal would make a statement for the region.
“The Spirit of Tasmania terminal will be an iconic feature of the region for decades to come, maintaining a crucial tourism and trade link between Tasmania and Victoria,” Mr Winter said. “There is a considerable amount of work happening on site with marine works, civil works and construction of the terminal well under way … we are really pleased with the progress.”
Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine executive director Brett Ince said the Spirit’s relocation would be a ‘game-changer’ for tourism to the region following its opening.
Mr Ince said research indicated excitement within the travelling community about the move.
“Our initial research indicates regular travellers of the Spirit welcome the move to Geelong and are open to exploring our region, especially our relaxing coastal communities and cultural precincts,” Mr Ince said.
He said the move, as well as other projects coming to the area, would allow for a bright future for the region and its tourism prospects.
“The next few years for our region look incredibly bright as we’re set to welcome the Spirit of Tasmania to its new home in North Geelong, along with the Geelong Convention and Exhibition Centre and significant accommodation projects in the coming years,” Mr Ince said. “We’re working with the Spirit of Tasmania to promote Geelong and The Bellarine as a destination of choice and to convince passengers to extend their stay to truly immerse themselves in the abundance of culinary, nature-based and cultural experiences on offer.”
Late last month, it was announced that Geelong was actively exploring the idea of opening a low-cost camping site with recreational vehicle amenities to cater to an expected increase in grey nomads and other travellers.
Some 450,000 passengers travel on the Spirit of Tasmania service each year. Modelling shows the Spirit’s relocation will increase tourism expenditure by $57.3m in Geelong and $174.1m in Victoria by 2029-30.