The Tasmanian Visitor Economy Strategy 2015-2020 (T21) identifies infrastructure investment as a priority to encourage visitors to Tasmania and enhance their experiences. T21 also recognises the importance of creating a conducive environment for private investments, including sustainable developments in natural areas.
Private investment in new and existing visitor services, experiences and infrastructure, is crucial to Tasmania's ongoing economic performance and the jobs that flow from a strong and healthy visitor economy. We've seen the power of new innovative visitor products, experiences and infrastructure over recent years. The challenge is to foster a bold, brave and innovative culture, so that Tasmania is ready to support the next generation of world leading visitor experiences and infrastructure.
The Launceston Skyway is a privately-funded project that falls within these specifications and can assist with T21’s target of attracting more visitors to Tasmania.
Currently, Launceston is promoted as a “gateway” to the North, but there is so much more to this amazing city. The development of the Skyway has the potential to enhance the already important role played by the Gorge as a key visitor attraction, but more importantly, put the focus back on Launceston and the North.
Similar projects have had a positive impact on tourism in the Barron Gorge National Park in Queensland and the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, situated in an Australian World Heritage-listed tropical rainforest, has won several Australian National Tourism Awards. These awards include the Excellence in Sustainable Tourism three years running, Best Major Tourist Attraction twice and Best Tourist Development Project.
Many people in Launceston and its surrounds will be required to establish, run and support the Skyway. During the development it is projected to create 38 full-time jobs during the initial construction phase, but it does not end there. Once fully operational, it is estimated to create an increase in employment for Launceston in those sectors related to tourism expenditure such as trade, transport and recreation services to the tune of 17 additional FTE in the first year.
The impact on employment is broadly reflective of the impact on economic activity, as illustrated in Chart 5.3. The initial construction period creates an initial uplift in employment. Subsequent tourism activity continues to support tourism activity throughout the Gondola operational period.
As a result the enhanced future operation, the proposed Gondola project, will have a positive impact on the economy and employment in both Launceston and more broadly in Tasmania.
Having a host of attractions in Launceston, such as the Skyway, encourages people to visit and plan longer trips to the area. Deloitte’s Economic Impact Report predicts two types of increased visitor activity: visitors who would not have come to Launceston without the Skyway (induced visitors) and visitors who choose to extend their stay to experience the Skyway (extended nights visitation).
Chart 4.3 demonstrates that visitor nights in Launceston are expected, as a result of the project, to increase from 10,866 in 2021 (of which 3,075 are from induced visitation and 7,791 are from the extended nights impact) upon commencement of the Gondola to 24,770 (7,010 from induced visitation and 17,760 from the extended nights impact) in 2030.
The increased visitation and extended stays will naturally boost visitor expenditure in Launceston. The modelling shows that the construction and operation of the Gondola has the potential to increase the size of the Launceston economy by an additional $1.5 million in visitor spending in the first year of operation. This is projected to increase to $3.4 million by the year 2030, creating a total of $13.6 million in additional visitor expenditure in Launceston from 2021-2030.
The rise in the level of investment and activity in the region has the potential to have a positive impact on the regional economy. In NPV (net present value) terms over the decade to FY2030, Launceston’s regional economy is projected to be $27.7 million larger as a result of the project.
The Skyway will be owned and operated by a local family who understands the importance of supporting local suppliers. To date, they have used local businesses at every opportunity to help them to develop the vision you see today, from concept and website design to the environmental impact assessments. Their desire is to continue to support the local community.
Moving forward with such a substantial local project can give other investors the confidence to do the same. Having the belief to invest in Launceston, thus stimulating our economy and creating more jobs is important for the region. A place where people want to move, work and raise families with futures.