04 August 2010

New World Heritage listings could boost tourism to Tasmania

Five Tasmanian convict sites have earned international world heritage recognition, a listing that is expected to ignite tourism opportunities and attract more international and local tourist.

To visit the five Tasmanian sites or the other six newly heritage-listed Australian sites, all international tourists must obtain an Australian Tourist Visa. The most popular of these visas is the ETA Visa, which allows a person to enter Australia for tourism purposes for up to three months.

In Tasmania, the Port Arthur Historic Site, Coal Mines Historic Site, the Cascades Female Factory, the Darlington Probation Station and the Brickendon and Woolmers Estate have joined the World Heritage list.

Other Unesco World heritage Sites added this year include Old Government House, The Domain, Hyde Park Barracks, Cockatoo Island and Old Great North Road in New South Wales, Freemantle Prison in Western Australia, and Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area on Norfolk Island.

 In Tasmania, site managers are already considering an Australian Convict Sites tour starting in Hobart.

Typically, World Heritage listing boosts tourist numbers by up to 5 per cent, which would translate to an additional 12,000 visitors on top of the existing 245,000 to the historic Port Arthur site each year.

"There is a real opportunity here, we're offering visitors the chance to visit six World Heritage sites, possibly in a week," Port Arthur chief executive Stephen Large said.

"We might not see the benefits straight away but there are certain advantages that are set to come."

Tasmania's wilderness was the state's first World Heritage listing in 1982, and Macquarie Island was second in 1997.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian Visa at the Australian Embassy.   

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