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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Twain saw Tassie tourism potential

The Mercury: Twain saw Tassie tourism potential [28nov05]

CELEBRATED American author Mark Twain was, arguably, Tasmania's first ecotourist, Tourism Australia chairman Tim Fischer said on the eve of an ecotourism conference in Hobart.

The former deputy prime minister said Twain had sung Hobart's praises after a visit in November 1895.

"Mark Twain sailed from the port of Melbourne direct to Hobart, arriving on Saturday, November 2, before ultimately proceeding to New Zealand and the rest of his famous journey Down Under, which saw him visit five state colonies of Australia," he said.

"It is his description of the Derwent Valley and Hobart that supports the claim he was the first ecotourist."

Mr Fischer quoted Twain's trave book More Tramps Abroad, in which he described the hills around Hobart being "clothed in woodland loveliness and over the way that noble mountain, Mt Wellington, of stately bulk, a most majestic pile".

How beautiful is the whole region," Twain wrote.

Mr Fischer said Tasmania had enormous ecotourism potential -- as discovered by the thousands who followed in Twain's steps.

The five-day Ecotourism Australia annual conference will feature tourism operators from around the nation and guests from as far away as the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan.

Mr Fischer was National Party leader from 1990 to 1999 and deputy prime minister from 1996 to 1999.


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