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Tourism ‘heyday’ in the North

THE NORTH is experiencing its tourism ‘‘heyday’’, with hoteliers reporting a record-breaking summer season.

Latest hotel occupancy rates recorded by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association show accommodation providers have enjoyed the busiest January on record.

‘‘Occupancy statistics in Northern Tasmania have been consistently above the region’s rolling 12-month average for some time,’’ THA general manager Steve Old said yesterday.

‘‘It shows that visitors are getting into the region and staying there and that the occupancy growth appears to be a sustained trend.

‘‘That’s excellent news not just for accommodation venues but also for restaurants and pubs and the many people whom they employ.’’

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said hoteliers were giving anecdotal evidence that February was also a record month.

‘‘This is the summer we’ve been waiting for for quite some years,’’ Mr Griffin said.

‘‘It would overall be the best on record by the time we’ve finished.

‘‘It certainly is the heyday for tourism in the North.’’

Mr Griffin said the bumper season was down to a combination of a low Australian dollar, strong regional access through Launceston Airport and the Tasmanian destination appeal.

The region achieved an occupancy rate of 82.6 per cent, breaking the previous high water mark of 81.1 per cent in 2014.

Mr Old said the region’s growth in annual average occupancy from February 2014 to January 2015 led the state, up 3.58 per cent to reach 67.71 per cent, ahead of the North-West.

‘‘With the occupancy in Southern Tasmania softening during the 12 months to January, the state’s growth of 1.34 per cent is clearly being driven by increasing occupancy in Northern and North-West Tasmania,’’ he said.

Mr Old said it was important that the region hosted high-quality events and was resourced to provide services to visitors and locals.

‘‘As we head into the off-peak tourism season, major events become even more critical,’’ Mr Old said.

Steve Old

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