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Tasmania: The state of the state
Tasmania is an island located 42 degrees south of the equator and 240 kilometres south of the Australian mainland. With over 50 % of its land protected as state forest, national parks, or reserves with World Heritage status, and no land for around 10,000 kilometres to its west and (with the exception of New Zealand) 12,000 kilometres to its east, it could be said that Tasmania is one of the last remaining islands where wilderness sits at its core.
In the past 20 years, we have witnessed significant growth in tourism in Tasmania. In 2008, approximately 897,000 visitors came to Tasmania; in 2018 numbers had grown to 1.3 million. But relatively, this growth cannot be compared to destinations like Bali which, in the same time period, experienced growth from 2.5 million to 8.7 million visitors. However, for Tasmanians – ranging from the indigenous Tasmanians through to those who now call it home – the change is noticeable. Just this afternoon, we were discussing the Tasmanian notion of the ‘secret spot’. Many Tasmanians will have grown up with a beach, a forest, a campsite or a place to visit that was their secret. To many of us, this spot was called ‘Spot X’ – a secluded campsite that we could return to on any day of the year, and we could be sure to find it empty. It felt like ours. And for many years, it was only ours. But in the early 2000s, Tasmania was discovered by what we call mainlanders. Our ‘Spot Xs’ were found and many of us will recall arriving at our favourite site, only to discover it was being used. Oh, the horror! This story is similar to many others that Tasmanians will tell about how their favourite quiet places have changed as tourists have discovered them. The island of Tasmania has experienced changes and with these come resistance, acceptance, profit and loss. So what makes Tasmania special? And why has this growth occurred? And why have we as Tasmanians reacted as we have, as tourist numbers have risen?
Publication titleTourism in Tasmania
EditorsCS Ooi and A Hardy
Department/SchoolCollege Office - College of Arts, Law and Education
PublisherForty South Publishing
Place of publicationHobart