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Tourism council eyes federal budget

Spirit Tasmania

The state's peak tourism lobby wants to revive the 'Bring Your Car For Free' promotion on Devonport's Spirit of Tasmania ferries, to entice more tourists to the North West Coast and beyond.

TICT CEO Luke Martin is calling for another boost to the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme in tomorrow's federal budget.

"The notion that you just turn off the tap of support to these disrupted businesses is just too much," he told Tasmania Talks on Monday.

The most recent campaign was due to run until the end of June, but the $6 million allocation ran out first, due to high demand.

"I think there has to be something for these businesses in the form of continued support. We know that people who come over on the Spirit on the low-cost daytime sailings, they're the people that get into Stanley, get into Strahan, get into St Helens. They're worth their weight in gold at the moment," Mr Martin said. 

Local tourism operators are hoping to get through the typically quieter winter months unscathed, but the Prime Minister has indicated the international borders will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

"Let's wait and see," was the message from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack when asked about the Morriosn Government putting more money into the BSPVES, instead pointing to other tourism support measures like the discounted airfares to Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. 

However there is some concern that including Hobart on the list of locations has pushed travellers away from going to the regions. 

Recent data showed of the of the federal government's 125,000 discounted airfares sold to Tasmania, only 3 percent are to Burnie and Devonport, with Launceston about a third.

"I'd like to think that some of those people who go to Hobart would then drive up the Midland and go to some of those place in the North...make sure they take advantage of the wineries and the sites to see in Launceston, in Devonport in Burnie, in all of those wonderful areas," Mr McCormack said.