Nov 2, 2016

Liberal tourism target – A plan with no vision

Tasmania’s tourism-driven economic growth is being threatened by a lack of vision and investment from the State and Federal Liberal Governments.

The latest Tourism Tasmania figures show just two per cent annual growth in total visitors to the state, down from eight per cent in 2015, 10 per cent in 2014 and 12 per cent in 2013.

At this rate the Tasmanian Government will miss its 2020 target of 1.5 million annual visitors by almost 250,000 visitors.

It is a concerning trend that will only continue if the Tasmanian and Federal Liberals don’t deliver a plan for tourism growth.

The respective Liberal Governments should be providing support to the local tourism sector, which has consistently demonstrated the capacity to develop dynamic and coordinated growth strategies.

Unfortunately there has been no detail around when work will begin on critical election commitments including the City Deal for Launceston, the completion of the Three Capes Track and the Cradle Mountain Master Plan.

Significant construction has still not begun on the Hobart Airport Runway Extension.

This follows the farce surrounding the Cadbury election commitment in 2013 that has now been abandoned.

There has also been no sign of the Tourism Employment Plan for North West Tasmania which was announced over a year ago by former Senator Richard Colbeck and Will Hodgman, and is due in June 2016.

Instead the Liberals’ flawed review into the Backpacker Tax has cut visitor numbers and an increase to the Passenger Movement Charge will deliver another hit.

The tourism sector wants to see genuine investment like Labor’s $44 millionTasmania Tourism Infrastructure Fund would have delivered.

If State and Federal Liberal Governments fail to invest in tourism infrastructure they will jeopardise a significant economic opportunity for all Tasmanians.