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Mountain Biking in Tasmania - Number 1 by 2030

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 20 Jun 2016

Mountain Biking in Tasmania—Number One by 2030

 $6 million for adventure tourism in Tasmania

 Tasmania is a unique environment and we want to share it with the world. Mountain bike riding is increasingly popular, and Tasmania is a perfect place for adventure tourism. The North East of the state has proven this. The Greens want to get the infrastructure and marketing in place to get riders visiting other parts of the state too, including more remote areas. This will provide employment and business opportunities for other parts of Tasmania.

 

The Australian Greens would introduce a new tourism and development package for Tasmania to make the state the world’s No. 1 mountain biking destination by 2030.

 The Greens think there’s more that can be done to promote Tasmania as a mountain bike destination by adopting a more holistic approach to development and promotion. This will require the development of a Tasmanian Mountain Bike Master Plan to encourage consistency and cooperation between stakeholders, agencies and land holders.

 A similar holistic approach was originally targeted in 2007 and 2009 by the state government and other stakeholders. But recent feedback has suggested the need to revamp this approach if we are to achieve the status of being world leaders in this rapidly growing area of adventure tourism. For example, the Tasmanian Government, through its West Coast Rescue package, was planning the creation of tracks on the West Coast that will match the facilities on the East Coast. This has recently stalled.

 Tasmania has many existing riding trails and potential new trails that suit beginners right up to extreme sports fanatics. Amazing wilderness, culture and heritage abound on many of these trails. Tasmania also has many mountain biking enthusiasts and a thriving community of riders. There is no reason we cannot use these competitive advantages to better capitalise on this massive tourism draw card.

 Most tourism in Tasmania is currently centred on Hobart, Launceston and Cradle Mountain. The Greens’ plan is designed to help push more regional and wilderness areas to the forefront, and support local businesses providing accommodation, tours, rentals and other support industries. This would include Tourism Australia and Tourism Tasmania directly marketing the state as a destination for mountain bikers.

 The international mountain bike race ‘Wildside MTB’ has also experienced difficulty recently. This major tourism event should be given the support needed. The Greens believe the state government should consider the purchase of this business given the importance of the race in promoting Tasmania and building adventure-based tourism. We would fund a feasibility study into this purchase and how to redevelop and promote ‘Wildside MTB: re-animated’.

 Nature-based tourism has higher yields in Australia than other types of tourism, with visitors spending 22% more time and 17% more money. Regional areas in Tasmania with wilderness areas have the potential to capitalise on the growing interest in wilderness by attracting riders from all over the world.

 

The Greens’ plan:

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$100,000 to develop the Tasmanian Mountain Bike Master Plan in consultation with stakeholders from the public and private sector. The 2009 Tasmanian Mountain Bike Plan is an excellent starting point that provides a strategic overview for developing a statewide and coordinated approach. It is however 7 years old and needs updating and review.

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A $20,000 feasibility study for the purchase and development of ‘Wildside: MTB’ by Tourism Tasmania to be upgraded to ‘Wildside MTB: re-animated’.

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$250,000 to Tourism Australia or Tasmania to be used for adventure tourism market research and targeting with a focus on growth markets in Europe, the US and Asia.

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$250,000 for a targeted marketing campaign based on the results of this research.

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$5,000,000 to get the infrastructure that’s needed for visitors - clearing trails, signage, access and visitor’s centres, as well as additional costs associated with managing leases and licenses.

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$500,000 for specific assistance for small businesses working in nature-based adventure tourism in Tasmania. We want small businesses to grow, employ locals and build a thriving bike tourism sector in the state.

 

 Transitioning from resources to services

 Tasmanian towns have grown and thrived on the back of mining operations. With the resources boom over, a number of mines have closed leaving many young people in particular with limited employment options. Rather than simply hope for a change in conditions so that mines can open again, the Greens want to help these mining communities to transition into other industries, including tourism service, that are more sustainable for the long term survival of these towns. New mountain bike areas need suitable accommodation and food outlets, and other services necessary to underwrite the visitation experience. These grants will assist locals in recognizing and seizing business opportunities.

  • We will invest $500,000 in supporting small businesses in nature-based tourism grow and stay sustainable. This involves business planning, assistance with partnerships and finding finance.

 

Building infrastructure to capitalise on new opportunities

Our wilderness and regional areas are unique, and offer visitors a range of experiences they won’t get anywhere else in the world. There is potential for increased adventure riding and mountain biking, activities that have minimal impact on the environment.

  • We will provide the funding needed for land managers to get the necessary infrastructure in place to ensure all visitors can enjoy access to new trails. This infrastructure should have a minimal impact on the environment

 

Finding and attracting new markets

Mountain biking is an adventure sport that’s increasingly popular amongst young people around the world. With the low dollar we have a great opportunity to attract young adventure tourists from the US and Europe. We need a proper strategy for the state to make sure we’re targeting the right markets and making the most of this opportunity.

  • We will fund Tourism Australia to conduct market research in order to define the focus for a state strategy. We will also fund Tourism Australia to use the results to implement a marketing strategy in key markets around the world.

 

Statewide planning

Tasmania has a number of mountain bike developments ongoing, but until now they have been managed regionally. Rather than creating competition within the state, it’s necessary to take a holistic approach to this niche tourism opportunity to encourage nature tourists to explore all the state has to offer.

  • We will create and empower a new steering committee made up of local stakeholders to redevelop and revamp a “Master Plan” for mountain biking across Tasmania, and back it up with the resources to enable the plan to be implemented over the next decade. 
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