Tourism experts are warning that the Apple Isle is going to need a major boost to its camping infrastructure when the two new, larger Spirit of Tasmania vessels are delivered next year.
The Spirit of Tasmania IV and V ships are currently under construction in Finland and they will increase vehicle spaces by 60%, and overall passenger capacity by 30%.
East Coast Tasmania Tourism chair Jen Fry told the Mercury newspaper that the Great Eastern Drive and other local roads would certainly need improvements to handle the extra traffic.
“The road infrastructure on the east coast does need urgent attention and we have been asking for funding from both the state and federal governments in order to make that a reality for all the visitors that will be coming on the Great Eastern Drive,” Ms Fry said. “Safe roads are a priority for everyone, Tasmanians and visitors alike.”
Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania CEO, Amy Hills, told the Mercury it was difficult to over-estimate the impact the new vessels would have, and stressed how important it was that everyone ‘gets the most out of the opportunities coming’.
“We also need to make sure we are getting more visitors off the beaten track and exploring different parts of Tasmania … that will be a challenge, but as a State we are up to the task,” Ms Hills said. “There’s so much potential for regions from Bay of Fires in the North East right through to Hastings in the south and everywhere in between but we need to make sure we do it right so that visitors and locals can make the most of the opportunity.”
Destination Southern Tasmania CEO Alex Heroys agreed that the state would need more infrastructure to support driving tourists, such as improved caravan and camper access.
“This is a great thing for regional tourism,” he told the Mercury. “For us, especially in our region, we know that 44% of visitors to Cockle Creek at the moment come off the Spirit, 34% of visitors to Dover come off the Spirit, and 13% of visitors overall to Hobart city come off the Spirit.”
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