Spirit of Tasmania move has brought massive tourism boost to Geelong area

Published: October 25, 2023

It’s now 12 months since the Spirit of Tasmania began using Geelong as its port on the mainland … and the move from Melbourne has been declared a huge success.

Many grey nomads have expressed their relief at no longer having to fight Melbourne traffic to use the service, and their satisfaction at the standard of facilities and general ease of use of the new terminal.

And that has all translated into extra use.

A record number of passengers, 450,012, sailed during the 2022-23 Financial Year, which included more than 213,766 passenger vehicles and 106,578 TEUs (freight) crossing the Bass Strait.

Initial economic estimates show that the service has brought a $21 million tourism boost to the Greater Geelong and Bellarine region.

Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine Executive Director, Tracy Carter, said the collaboration with Spirit of Tasmania has been incredibly positive for the local visitor economy.

“Mobility data shows that visitors who arrive via Spirit of Tasmania tend to stay longer in our region, venture further and spend more generously compared to the average,” she said. “Over a 12-month period, overnight visitors spent approximately $2.3 million, while day trip passengers injected $18.7 million.”

Geelong Port Chief Executive Officer, Brett Winter, said the boost in visitor expenditure was exceeding initial projections.

“The uplift in visitor spend since Spirit of Tasmania’s move to Geelong is on track to exceed the initial projections of $57.3 million by 2030,” he said.

And Spirit of Tasmania’s Acting CEO, John McGrath, was confident that things were only going to get better.

“We’re even more excited about the future with two new larger vessels arriving in 2024 to replace our current fleet,” he said. “The increased number of passengers travelling in both directions presents a huge opportunity for the tourism industry here in Victoria and in Tasmania.”

  • Have you used the new Spirit of Tasmania terminal at Geelong? What did you think? Did you linger in the Geelong area? Comment below.

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Port Melbourne Terminal was a very inconvenient location for drive on board passengers.

Are you able to take dogs on the Spirit of Tasmania via the Geelong terminal?

We travelled overnight last night and yes there were dogs on board. Unsure where they were below, but we could hear a bark occasionally this morning.

Just returned and the experience was a lot more convenient. We spent two nights in Geelong prior to our departure, shopping, tourism and camping. On the return we stocked up on fruit and veges, bakery and again stayed one night, so I am sure Geelong is benefitting from the SOT leaving from here.

My husband and I have disembarked the Spirit of Tasmania this very morning 5/11/23 in Devonport and both of us would like to say “What a difference the Geelong Terminal and parking arrangements have made!” We arrived on Thursday and had booked into the Geelong Showgrounds for 2 nights and a late checkout on Saturday.(small charge). We were able to have lunch with friends in Geelong near the Marina on Friday, do a recci to Corio Quay on Saturday to ensure we knew where we were going, then leave showgrounds on Sunday at about 6pm for the Spirit of Tasmania book in. The process was seemless and we were on board and settled by departure at around 11pm. Great service from the Spirit team, comfortable accommodation and smooth trip. We would recommend the trip to everyone.


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