Published on : Friday, January 24, 2014
The Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme (BSPVES) provides vital support to tourism operators in regional Tasmania and removing or reducing it would threaten the viability of these businesses and the jobs they provide, according to peak national industry body Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).
The Productivity Commission has today released its draft report into the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme, suggesting it could be reformed or abolished.
TTF Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the draft report fails to consider some critical factors.
“Tasmania has a two-speed tourism economy, with Hobart and surrounds doing well but regional areas missing out,” Mr Morrison said.
“The BSPVES is vital for tourism operators in regional Tasmania as people who take their caravans and campervans across Bass Strait spend more and stay longer in those areas than visitors who arrive by plane, so the impact of any change would be amplified in regional destinations.
“Tasmania is Australia’s most tourism dependent state, with more than 15,000 direct jobs across the state, including around 12,000 in regional areas that benefit most from the 100,000 visitors who travel to Tasmania by ship each year, spending an estimated $260 million.
“In addition, the draft report does not take into account the benefits the scheme delivered to the visitor economy on the mainland through its support of outbound travel by Tasmanians, both for leisure and business.
“While we are highly supportive of the scheme’s objective of supporting visitation to Tasmania, the economic impact of travel by Tasmanians and the social benefits this link provides must also be taken into account when assessing its efficacy.
“It’s important to note, too, that visitation to Tasmania has fluctuated significantly over recent years with aviation capacity playing a key role in this.
“While capacity is strong at the moment, this may not always be the case and visitor numbers could suffer due to reductions in flights or down-gauging of aircraft which could see airfares rise.
“Noting these critical issues have not been adequately addressed in the Productivity Commission’s draft report, we are urging the federal government to commit to maintaining the scheme in its current form.”
Tags: Tourism News