MORE and more grey nomads are heading to the Apple Isle.
They lead the growing number of travellers using the Spirit of Tasmania
ferries, with passenger numbers up 8.9 percent to 418,831 in the year up
"The financial year has been a particularly big year for grey nomads,"
Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding told the Tasmanian parliament.
He said the number of caravans crossing the Bass Strait had risen 7.7
percent while motorhomes had shown a nine percent increase.
"These fantastic numbers are great news for the state as Spirit
passengers stay longer and spend more in Tasmania than those who come by
"This means more money into local businesses and more jobs for
The minister said the momentum showed no sign of slowing down, with
forward bookings up 14.5 percent from the previous year and extra day
sailings to cope with the increasing market demand.
The government credits the rise in bookings to changes in the
ferries' operations, which include refurbishment, reduced fares and more
Tourism Tasmania’s chief executive John Fitzgerald said figures were a
great outcome for regional communities and the local economy.
"The island's compact size makes it one of Australia’s best destinations
for touring, whether by car, motorhome or towing a caravan," he told
"Not only are all our local destinations and communities a short distance
apart, but our roads seem less congested and around every corner there’s
an opportunity to encounter the people, places, experiences and
attractions that make Tassie so special," he said.
"Tasmania has long been popular with Australians wanting to tour the
island with their caravans and motorhomes.
"The TT Line has been making a concerted effort in recent years to provide
for the needs of people who want to bring their own RVs on the Spirits
"Their latest figures prove that more people are grabbing the opportunity
to come here and spend their time experiencing our magnificent national
parks and beaches, bustling markets, world-class produce, historic
buildings and places, rich arts and cultural communities ... special
places where local stories live and breathe."