Tassie border re-opening date sparks booking frenzy

Published: October 28, 2021


Grey nomads who have effectively been locked out of Tasmania by pandemic restrictions are expected to descend on the Apple Isle in huge numbers this summer.

It’s been less than a week since the State Government announced its plan to reopen borders on December 15, but the response has already been overwhelming.

In the first three days after the news broke, the Spirit of Tasmania ferry received a whopping $3 million worth of bookings.

Chief executive at Visit Northern Tasmania, Chris Griffins, told the ABC that ‘forward bookings have gone ballistic’.

“We knew Tassie was going to be in high demand as soon as the borders reopened,” he said. “It’s a good shot in the arm in terms of confidence coming into the summer after what has been a pretty miserable winter.”

Caravan parks and camping sites which are always extremely popular during the warmer months are expected to be busier than ever as borders across the country open in earnest.

And other tourism-related businesses are also gearing up for a bumper season.

The General Manager at Josef Chromy Wines, Shaine Devenny, told the ABC that setting a date for borders to reopen was the ‘final step’ in giving people the confidence to return to their normal travel plans.

“It’s so exciting to see the recent interest in tourism since the roadmap announcement,” she said. “Once travellers get confident, gain more confidence around the border conditions, we’re going to see a flurry of activity similar to what we would see in a normal year and our key season.”

However, with international tourists and backpackers still barred from entry to Australia, one drawback to the good news story is the lack of labour to staff the service industries.

And the Managing Director of NRMA Expeditions, which runs Freycinet Lodge and Cradle Mountain hotel, Andrew Paynter, said there were still other questions that needed to be answered.

“We need to know how will we react as a business, when, not if, we do have a positive case within one of our businesses,” he told the ABC.

And Mr Paynter said he also thought the need to get a negative test before entering the state could be ‘problematic’ and have the ‘potential to soften demand’.

“Certainly at peak periods the ability to procure a test and to pay for it, especially for large families wanting to travel to Tasmania, could be quite problematic,” he said.


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Malcolm Nelson Jeffries
6 months ago

Terrific news the more people go there the less to compete on the mainland

Trinh & Dennis
6 months ago

The daunting sail for me would being confined to our cabin..no freedom to roam while aboard…

6 months ago
Reply to  Trinh & Dennis

I must admit it was stifling. Even though we had the door basically closed, someone came past and said it had to be shut completely. Both double vaxed and just wanted a little fresh air….but NO! No wifi, Tv, radio or anything….but for us no quarantine.

Bob Willis
6 months ago

Absolutely!! We are booking in for a lovely 11 night s over New Years! Cannot wait!

6 months ago

The cost of transport for 4WD, and caravan is out of my reach. The Spirit needs to rethink the fares for pensioner vehicle transport. I won’t be visiting until they do.

6 months ago
Reply to  Kevin

Kevin. Why would SOT rethink their fare structure for
pensioners? I read,above, that bookings totalled $3M
in the first 3 days of said bookings being opened.
It would appear that the current fare structure is just
about right.

6 months ago
Reply to  Kevin

Totally agree! Living in Tassie we have no choice!


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