Blueprint for smaller ships

Port Arthur was established in the 1830s as a penal settlement. It remains a physical chronicle of a dramatic part of Australia's history. Its 60 or so buildings and picturesque landscape offer visitors a challenging mix of both beauty and horror and have helped the site to become Tasmania's most popular tourist destination.
Port Arthur was included in the National Heritage List on 3 June 2005.

Port Arthur and the East Coast are the focus of a new Tasmanian Government blueprint to manage the growth of the growing cruise ship tourism sector.

Released last month, the strategy identifies Hobart, Burnie, Beauty Point and Port Arthur as the main ports for large cruise ships in the State but outlined plans to encourage smaller, expedition vessels to visit regional anchorages such as Bicheno, Swansea and Maria Island.

With 72 cruise ships currently scheduled to visit Port Arthur over the next five years, 19 this coming season, the strategy calls for engagement with cruise line companies in the small luxury segment to encourage them to include Port Arthur in itineraries.

It also calls for more afternoon arrivals to allow a spread of visits across the day and provide passengers with more exclusive tour experiences, overnight packages with ghost tour or night time experience with food and accommodation and investigate options for a hop-on hop-off style service between the region’s attractions and day walks.

The establishment of a local artists market within the historic site has also been proposed on days cruise ships are in port.

Cruise ships currently contribute $30.5 million to the visitor economy and the Government wants to increase this to $50 million by 2022 through encouraging smaller, expedition vessels in regional ports.

Premier Will Hodgman said the blueprint would ensure the benefits of cruise ships are shared by even more Tasmanians and encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more time in regional areas.

“Cruise ships are a significant part of our growing visitor economy and we are working with the cruise industry to ensure growth is sustainable and well managed,’’ Mr Hodgman said.

By 2022, he wanted the blueprint to have:

  • Raised the number of passengers participating in tours from 40 per cent to 50 per cent;
  • Introduced turn-around visits for small ships and partial turn-arounds for large ships to five calls per summer; and
  • Encourage greater visitation to places like Port Arthur, the East Coast and Beauty Point.

“We know cruise passengers are more likely to become repeat visitors and the Blueprint aims to increase the number of cruise visitors returning to our state from the current 10,960 to 15,000,’’ Mr Hodgman said.

Following cruise industry and government agreement to stop visits to Wineglass Bay, the need for alternative east coast anchorages has been identified.

“There is strong interest from expedition lines (100-350 passengers) to develop alternative east coast anchorages to Wineglass Bay,’’ Mr Hodgman said.

“Promise Bay, Bicheno, Swansea and Maria Island are all priorities for assessment.’’

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