Spirit of Tasmania boost to turbo-charge Tassie tourism

The Federal Government will give Tasmania’s economic recovery a welcome boost by injecting $6 million into making it free for Spirit of Tasmania passengers to take their car to Tasmania.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the move would support a boost to passenger vehicle bookings on TT-Line and Bass Island Line ferries, in turn providing relief to the State’s world-famous tourism industry.

“COVID-19 has significantly affected tourism in Tasmania and the number of passenger vehicles travelling across Bass Strait which is why we are moving to increase the rebate already available under our Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (BSPVES) to the value of $6 million,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“For travel between 1 March 2021 and 30 June 2021, Australians can take their car or motorbike to the Apple Isle at zero cost and discover everything this beautiful State has to offer – a win-win for both Tasmanians and visitors looking to discover more of what the island has to offer.”

Assistant Minister for Industry Development Jonno Duniam said the Australian Government was serious about ensuring the competitiveness of key Tasmanian industries, such as tourism.

“The coronavirus pandemic hit Tasmania’s tourism industry in an unprecedented way, with Spirit of Tasmania Bookings dropping by up to 85 per cent,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“This new boost will bring more travellers to our island, providing the kick-start to 2021 that we need to rebuild tourism.

“It represents an average saving of around $240 return for travellers. That’s money they can now spend at small businesses, with tourism operators and in the many communities that are eager to welcome travellers back with open arms.

“This is a critical and targeted boost for tourism, as visitors who travel to Tasmania by sea are among the most valuable to the industry, they spend more, stay longer and travel further into our regional areas.

“In fact, these travellers account for 12 per cent of all visitors to Tasmania yet they contribute a massive 20 per cent of all annual visitor spending.

“I encourage all Australians to add Tasmania to their must-see-list, take advantage of this great deal, and discover for themselves why Tasmania is the greatest place to holiday at home.”

Member for Braddon Gavin Pearce said the move aimed to increase the number of passenger vehicles using Bass Strait, supporting the many businesses providing the crucial transport link.

“In 2019-20, the Australian Government provided assistance for approximately 161,474 eligible passenger vehicles under the scheme,” Mr Pearce said.

“Following a tough year with travel restrictions, this subsidy will give a boost to the number of passengers coming to Tasmania during the traditional tourism shoulder-season.”

The $6 million boost will apply to all new bookings for travel from March 1. When travellers book their ticket, the rebate will automatically apply to the purchase price of the ticket.

The rebate boost means the ticket cost of an average standard vehicle will be free, representing an average saving of $240 return for travellers. Ticket prices for motorbikes and pushbikes will also be zero.  Those travelling with a caravan or motorhome will also receive the average $240 return saving for their vehicle.

The subsidy will include passengers transporting an eligible passenger vehicle between King Island or the Furneaux Group and the mainland.

More details on the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme are available https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/maritime/tasmanian-transport-schemes/bass-strait/.

Further information on how to book the new fares will soon be available on TT-Line and Bass Island Line websites at www.spiritoftasmania.com.au and www.bassislandline.com.au.

Media contacts:

Deputy Prime Minister’s office: Jo Williamson 0418 475 668 / Dean Shachar 0418 202 860

Senator Duniam’s office: Carla Howarth 0499 037 732