Conference looks to the future of Tasmanian tourism Tue 17 July 2012 Scott Bacon Minister for Tourism The major investment from the nation's airlines in their Tasmanian services should give the state's tourism industry confidence, the Minister for Tourism, Scott Bacon said today. Speaking at the opening of the 2012 Tasmanian Tourism Conference, Mr Bacon said that while the industry has been through some challenges, there was now an air of positivity and enthusiasm. "This conference is a great opportunity for members of the industry to get together, look at the issues currently facing the sector and how to address them," he said. "I congratulate the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania for using the conference to look to the sector's future and explore new ideas and new markets. "In the past few months, we've seen some positive announcements from Virgin Australia, Qantas, Jetstar and Tiger - which reflect growing confidence in Tasmania as a destination. "While the challenge will now be filling those extra flights, this is a good challenge to have. "Through the restructure of Tourism Tasmania and by quarantining the organisation's marketing budget from savings measures, we are continuing to promote this state in innovative ways." Mr Bacon said the State Government recognised the importance of tourism for Tasmania and was committed to playing its part in sustaining the local tourism and hospitality industries now and into the future. "Through the Access Working Group, we are developing a strategy aimed at seeing sustainable growth in services in and out of Tasmania in the long-term," he said. "Through the Regional Tourism Organisations, we are working to give local tourism operators a greater say in how their region is marketed. "And we are continuing to invest in key tourism projects, such as the Three Capes Track, the Tarkine Drive and the redevelopment of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery - all significant projects that will support the local industry and increase visitation to this state." Mr Bacon said it was important tourism operators were able to adapt to the times. "Our new market research program will not only guide Tourism Tasmania's marketing decisions, it will also be made available to local operators to help them make more informed decisions about their own business," he said. "By working closely with businesses and the industry, we are working to grow our vitally important tourism sector, and through conferences like this, we can all be more aware, better prepared and better equipped to respond to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead." The State Government has provided $20,000 to the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania (TICT) to assist with the cost of staging the 2012 Tasmanian Tourism Conference.