Mainland investors ready for rush of visitors when borders open

15 Sep 2021
Words Helen Kempton Hobart Mercury & Burnie Advocate

Mainland investors ready for rush of visitors when borders open

ONE of Tasmania’s most popular historic hotels has been sold to a Queensland investor for $1.45m as mainlanders continue to hunt for and snap up accommodation businesses in the island state.

The new owner of Franklin Manor in Strahan, Leanne Roberts, said she has big plans for the property and wants it to become a vibrant hub for both tourists and the local community.

Estate agents ResortBrokers said Ms Roberts was part of a “new wave” of mainlanders who are actively looking for accommodation businesses in Tasmania.

Franklin Manor is opposite Macquarie Harbour and was originally built in 1896 for Strahan’s harbour master.

“When I first visited the West Coast of Tasmania in May this year, I couldn’t believe how beautiful the place was. I felt like I was driving around the South Island of New Zealand,” Ms Roberts said.

“I actively started looking for a property in February with a Google search of ‘cottages by the sea’ and Franklin Manor came up and straight away I knew this was the place I wanted.”

The boutique historic hotel has 14 guest rooms, a dining room, cocktail bar, wine tasting room and a meeting room.

“My vision is to return Franklin Manor to its former glory as a real hub and meeting place for local people,” Ms Roberts said.

“The dining room is only being used for breakfast but back in the day it was a highly rated and successful restaurant with a world-class chef and I aim to bring this back.

“The same goes for the bar and wine cellar. We want to serve a wide variety of classic cocktails, beers and spirits and offer afternoon tea on the veranda.”

ResortBrokers’ Tasmania specialist Marissa von Stieglitz said inquiry levels for accommodation businesses in Tasmania had been running high, especially from Victoria and New South Wales, since the latest round of lockdowns began.

“With the lockdowns, a lot of people have had the time to think about what they want to do, and where they want to be, and now inquiries for Tasmania are rising rapidly,” Ms von Stieglitz said.

“These people realise that Tasmania has been relatively Covid-free and that it’s simply a great place to live in a beautiful part of the world and they’re willing to up sticks and move here.

“I think everyone is starting to realise that once the vaccination rates hit a high level and people start moving again, Tasmania is going to benefit from all the pent-up travel demand and accommodation operators will be the big winners.”

Ms Roberts said she was looking forward to the challenge and settling into running her new business.

"I also have a lot of transferable business skills and experience and the main thing is we keep providing guests and locals with a great experience when they come here.

"I've always wished for a property like this, it's simply a dream come true."

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