Media Releases - 24 February 2020

This time, Tourism Industry Council Tasmania is right: Tourism EOI process needs overhaul

    • Tasmania’s peak tourism body admits problems with tourism policy
    • New Environment & Parks Minister now has mandate to improve tourism policy
    • Growing number of tourism operators voicing concerns 

    The Wilderness Society has welcomed suggestions by the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) in an ABC News report that the discredited tourism Expressions of Interest process needs improvement. 

    “We welcome the TICT’s admission that there is a lack of transparency around the tourism EOI process, as the Wilderness Society, many other groups, individuals and a growing number of tourism operators have been saying for a long time now,” said Tom Allen for the Wilderness Society Tasmania. 

    “The problem is that the Government’s policy remains to privatise national parks, at the exclusion of existing park users, and the discredited EOI tourism process is the means to achieve it. Unless the policy changes, the rest will be lipstick on a pig. Tasmania’s new Tourism Minister, Premier Peter Gutwein, now has a mandate to reform tourism policy to keep national parks unspoiled and accessible to everyone. 

    “As Mr Martin has suggested, the community also needs to know what the economic rationale is for the state to help niche elitist tourism operators set-up private schemes in remote areas, when there is tourism infrastructure in and around local communities being ignored. 

    “As for paying leasing fees, wilderness is priceless. With wilderness in decline across the globe, Tasmania should be strengthening wilderness values not degrading them.

    “Unless the government makes meaningful changes, the EOI process will continue to slide and more tourism operators are likely to disassociate themselves from these unethical practices and fake eco-tourism in favour of the real thing.

    “The TICT has repeatedly said that wilderness is the pre-eminent driver for tourists to visit Tasmania yet it endorses a policy that degrades the very thing Tasmania’s tourism operators depend on for their business. Tourism policy that respects and enhances wilderness values would help reconcile this contradiction,” said Mr Allen. 

    TICT’s Luke Martin comments to ABC News Tasmania: 

    “There are clearly issues and uncertainty around what are the requirements, what is the transparency element that’s needed. What are the economic returns to the state. Then absolutely, let’s put it on the table and have a conversation. We would like to see as many operators as possible move on to a percentage-of-turnover model so that as their businesses grow, the state gets a return on that.” 

    TICT’s comments on wilderness: 

    In a submission as part of the drafting of the TWWHA’s Management Plan, the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) said of the TWWHA:

    “The Tasmanian Wilderness is a major [tourist] attraction, and source of destination brand and appeal underpinning the Tasmanian tourism industry. 

    “The economic value of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, from the impact of visitor spending alone, was estimated at $721.8 million in the year ending June 2007 – supporting approximately 5,300 jobs in the state. 

    “Tourism Tasmania research has also shown that ‘wilderness’ is integral to Tasmania’s brand and appeal as a total tourism destination: ‘wilderness’ is the greatest trigger to influence intention to visit Tasmania, and respondents across market segments consistently rank ‘wilderness’ as having the highest appeal and being a uniquely Tasmanian experience.” (Page 5.)

    A representation by Tourism Industry Council Tasmania regarding the Draft Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) Management Plan 2014, 2015)

    For further comment: Tom Allen, 0434 614 323