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Sunday, January 01, 2006

$12m to entice passengers

The Mercury: $12m to entice passengers [02jan06]

THE State Government spent more than $12 million marketing the Spirit III voyages into Sydney, NSW and southeast Queensland during 2005, in an attempt to improve passenger numbers.

It says the plan is working, with booking and patronage up 50 per cent this summer compared to the same time last year.

It expects to achieve its conservative target of carrying 44,000 return passengers between Devonport and Sydney this 2005-2006 financial year.

When the Sydney operations first started in January 2004, TT-Line boasted it would carry more than 50,000 return passengers over its first year.

But, in the face of tough price competition with discount airlines, it attracted fewer than 33,000 return passengers.

Bryan Green, the Government Minister responsible for the TT-Line, is so confident that the Sydney service has turned the corner, that he announced a fortnight ago that an additional eight voyages early in 2006 had been added to the schedule.

The Government uses tourism figures showing that visitors to Tasmania who arrive by ship from Melbourne and Sydney stay on average 15 days longer and spend a total of $430 million a year, to justify its determined support of its ferry operations.


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