The Southland’s tourist industry has grown to $3.6 billion in 2014, the biggest in Australia and up 30 per cent from 2007, according to the latest census figures.
But it remains an outsize player in the tourism industry in the wider Southland, according the National Tourism and Leisure Association (NTLA).
The NTLA, which represents the South West region of Tasmania, said that since the 2011 census, tourism revenue has risen from $1.8 billion to $2.9 billion, but the number of people visiting has not increased.
The NTLCA is also concerned that the number and number of hotel and resort properties being developed and the quality of services and accommodation have dropped over the past decade, due to the introduction of the new “golden age” of tourism, which is a boom in tourism in Australia’s largest and most populous state.
The growth of tourism has also been hampered by the loss of jobs and the lack of investment, NTLCAs CEO Michael Scott said.
“Travellers are not going to be able to compete with tourism as a way of living in this country,” he said.
“And we’re going to see some real challenges in the future.”
The peak of the boom in tourist revenues is believed to have taken place in 2010 when more than $1 billion was spent in Victoria and the ACT on accommodation and hospitality.
Tourism revenue peaked in 2007 and has since fallen in the ACT and WA, according a study by Tourism Victoria.
A recent report by the NTLA said that while the peak in tourist revenue was from 2008 to 2010, the number has dropped to less than half that in 2016.
“Tourism revenues are declining across the state and the country,” Scott said in a statement.
“The numbers of people coming to Tasmania are dropping, the quality and quantity of facilities has not been improving, and the number in the hospitality sector has also not increased.”
“Tourist spending is an economic engine in the community and we want to ensure that it stays that way.”
The NTLAs report said that despite the economic downturn, the tourism sector has been resilient, as people are still going to places like the Gold Coast, Geelong and Port Hedland.
In a statement, the Tourism Minister Greg Hunt said that Tourism Victoria is currently working with the tourism body to develop a comprehensive strategy for attracting more tourism to Tasmania.
“This includes developing an attractive tourism package for Tasmania that includes increased infrastructure, better accommodation facilities, more flexible work arrangements, and new ways of doing business, including by offering online reservations,” he added.
This week the NTLCAA will release its annual report to the Parliament, which will detail the state of tourism in Tasmania.