What’s All The Mania Around Tasmania?

21 Sep 2022
Words Marissa von Stieglitz Informer 104

What’s All The Mania Around Tasmania?

Renowned for its fresh seafood and beautiful wine, while Tasmania has always been stunning, the face of tourism really changed around 2011 with the opening of the world-class MONA - Museum of Old and New Art - in Hobart. 

The outdated perception that you could go to Tassie and drive the entire state and see everything in three days are long gone, with the average visitor now spending 10.8 nights in the state.

MONA opened the flood gates of opportunity and in the past 11 years, the entire state has flourished through domestic and international visitation. Tourism now comprises 33,600 of Tasmanian jobs (13%) which are directly and indirectly supported by the travel industry. This is higher than the national average and in fact the highest in the country.

Mountain bike riding is also a major contributor to the booming Tasmanian tourism industry and responsible for luring an influx of visitors to the state. The Blue Derby Mountain Bike Trails opened in 2015 in the temperate rainforest region of north-east Tasmania. Before this, Derby had been a more or less desolate town after the closure of the tin mine in 1948. Now, the transformation of the town is simply unbelievable.


Last year, a recorded sale of a dilapidated two bedroom cottage known as ‘the crack house” sold for $1.3 million. Prior to 2015, you could have purchased a house in Derby for under $100,000.


And the mountain biking phenomenon has spread its tourism tentacles right across the state, with major trails in St Helens on the east coast, Latrobe and Sheffield in the north-west and Queenstown on the west coast.

In October, The Spirit of Tasmania will change the route of its 18-year journey from Station Pier in the Melbourne CBD to Geelong. This signals greater accessibility for inbound tourism to Tasmania for travellers towing caravans as well drive market visitors, with the boat docking at Devonport. Perched on the north-west coast, Devonport has never been a “destination” in its own right. However, this spring, a new 187-room, 4.5-star hotel will open in Devonport, breathing fresh life into the local tourism industry.

This development was sold to Singapore’s Fragrance Group for $40 million. Branded as a Novotel, the hotel will bring a new quality of accommodation to the north-west coast that has been lacking. Last year, Frankie J’s opened in Devonport, heralding the first new entertainment venue in the past 15 years.

The accommodation face of Hobart, where I lived for three years while studying Tourism and Hospitality at the Drysdale, has changed dramatically in the past five years. There has been an influx of new rooms into the market since 2017 starting with the 196-room Ibis Styles Hobart (another property owned by the Fragrance Group); followed by The Crown Plaza Hobart (235 rooms in June 2020; The Vibe Hotel Hobart (142 rooms in November 2020); the Movenpick Hotel Hobart (221 rooms in January 2021); and The Tasman (150 rooms) - a luxury collection from the Marriott group - at the end of 2021.

Despite the introduction of all these new rooms, the Hotel Occupancy Report for April shows that 81.57 per cent of available rooms across the state were filled, which is the strongest April figure we’ve ever witnessed by about five per cent. The occupancy figures for the first quarter of 2022 are also up compared to last year which is a strong signal of confidence in the industry.


With around 30 events scheduled for the last six months of 2022, the outlook for Tasmania is strong. ResortBrokers sold Franklin Manor in Strahan last year to a Queensland investor who saw the opportunity to develop this property into a boutique high-end hotel. In June this year we settled the Strahan Beach Cabin and Tourist Park to a family from the New South Wales south coast who have always managed big tourist parks on the mainland and saw the opportunity to further enhance this park.


We currently have the Snug Beach Tourist park under offer and received an exceptionally high amount of interest in this property for a leasehold park. However, there is generally not a lot of movement in the Tasmanian accommodation sector, with many properties tightly held and a lot held generationally. 

The general consensus is that most operators are choosing to stick it out for a bit longer and reap the rewards of the lost revenue during COVID. However, I predict after the summer of 2023, there will be some substantial movement in the market.

Tassie may be situated in the roaring 40s, but for now it’s smooth seas before the anticipated sales’ storm ahead. END

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