Call for state to ramp up tourism campaigns
From The Mercury, 27th July 2014
AMPLIFYING Tasmania’s presence in international and interstate markets through advertising is needed to boost the state’s visitor numbers, a Launceston hotelier said yesterday.
Stronger promotion of the state’s environmental drawcards, more off-peak events in the North and expanding the city’s conference market were cited as potential growth areas by Quest Launceston general manager Vijan Patel.
Mr Patel’s comments are in light of hotel occupancy figures released by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association last week.
The figures showed a 5.21 per cent growth in average annual occupancy for the North, up to 66.46 per cent, between June this year and in 2013.
Average annual occupancy for the state’s South was up by 0.12 per cent, to 78.42 per cent occupancy, and the North-West fell by 1.84 per cent to a rate of 47.7 per cent occupancy.
Although the figures support the state government’s goal of achieving a visitor mark of 1.5 million by 2020, more could still be done, according to Mr Patel.
“Our clientele mix is roughly 70 to 30 [per cent] between corporate and leisure,” he said.
“We’ve got the be out there in the leisure market, the more we advertise in that area, the more people are going to come to Tasmania.”
An extended off-peak events calendar would assist in marketing the North to would-be visitors, Mr Patel said.
“We’ve got to hold events as much as possible, whenever we can, football helps us as usual – it helps everyone.
“People from the mainland come here, they stay and eat at the restaurants as well.
“There are a few events here and there but that’s where the hotel industry has to work together and publish them out there.”
Mr Patel said a shortage of self-contained conference units in Launceston also presented an opportunity to grow the North’s corporate market.
He said relationships built between corporate visitors to the state held great potential for return business to the city.
Mr Patel said an officer had been appointed to attract business conferences and other events to the North.
A state government spokesman said the government believed its goal of 1.5 million visitors would generate 8000 new jobs in Tasmania.
“The conference market is an important one during what is otherwise, traditionally, a quieter time of the year for tourism,” the spokesman said.
“There is certainly opportunity for the North to host more business events, and this initiative is aimed at helping to grow the market in the region.”