3 February 2014
Spirit of Tasmania carried more than 67,000 passengers in January 2014, a key month in Tasmania’s peak tourism season.
The figure of 67,385 was the second highest for any January period over the past eight years. The vessels carried 70,670 in January 2011.
Spirit of Tasmania CEO Charles Griplas said after last year's difficult year the company had bounced back with its best January since 2011 and its second best January in eight years.
“In January 2014, Spirit of Tasmania, averaged 648 passengers per sailing - the most booked average per sailing over the same eight-year comparison period,” he said.
“The vessels also carried more than 27,000 passenger vehicles.”
The company developed an extensive marketing plan 12-months-ago that was underpinned by additional marketing funds ($10 million in 2012/13 and $11.5 million in 2013/14).
“Our confidence to invest these additional funds is now delivering a positive outcome for the company and the state,” said Mr Griplas.
The Minister for Infrastructure, David O’Byrne, said Spirit of Tasmania’s strong performance was more great news off the back of record tourism figures.
“In the 12 months to September 2013 more than one million visitors visited the state. Spirit of Tasmania visitor figures show the popularity of Tasmania as a destination of choice is continuing to grow in the new year.
“Spirit of Tasmania is not only selling the unique experience of travelling by sea, but it is promoting all that Tasmanian has to offer.
“It is our local tourism operators, attractions, cafes and other businesses right around the state that benefit when visitor numbers on Spirit of Tasmania are strong.
“With visitors investing more than $1.5 billion in the Tasmanian economy every year, the success of Spirit of Tasmania is benefiting the entire state.”
Mr Griplas said the new ‘Sea. The Difference’ brand campaign launched in August 2013 was designed to show travellers just how many benefits there were to travelling by sea.
“Our ‘Drive Straight into your holiday’ brand campaign also highlights the convenience of touring around Tasmania with your own vehicle, offering a unique and affordable experience across Bass Strait,” he said.
“We are also strongly committed to promoting Tasmania as a destination and showcasing our state to the rest of Australia.
“In our press and TV ads promoted to the interstate market, we’ve featured some of Tasmania’s most iconic landmarks and attractions such as MONA, Boag’s Brewery, Salamanca Market, The Nut in Stanley and other fantastic locations around the state including Bay of Fires, Cradle Mountain, Port Arthur, Ross and Tasmania’s stunning coastline.”
Mr Griplas said seeing these results at a time when more Australians were still heading overseas in record numbers was very satisfying.
“We have just released our outdoor edition of Experience Tasmania, a free guide to exploring Tasmania in its most untouched environments,” he said.
“The Outdoor Edition features scenery, world-class hiking, fishing, camping and a lot more.
“It’s a handy 20-page booklet, with a calendar of events in Tasmania for the year and includes information in hiking, camping, wildlife, fishing, “glamping”, great drives, cycling, day trips and more.
“The guide was released on 13 January 2014 and we have already had more than 8,000 requests for a copy, with 20,000 in total printed – a great result so far.
“We enjoy organising these sorts of marketing initiatives – we’re constantly trying to find new ways to retain and gain new customers.”
The guide is promoted to about 106,000 members on Spirit of Tasmania’s active database, more than 24,000 fans on Spirit of Tasmania’s Facebook page and can be requested from experience-tasmania.com.au
“Our travellers have also indicated that they appreciate the children’s’ fares that we offer,” Mr Griplas said.
“Currently each child booked on a Day Ticket will receive a free kids pack prior to boarding. The pack includes an activity book, jigsaw puzzle, colouring pencils, and more.”
Mr Griplas said Spirit of Tasmania’s increase in popularity provides confidence in Tasmania as a destination and tourism in the broader state.
Contact: Soniya Fernandez