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New hotel planned for Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art

Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is the largest funded museum in Australia. It was officially opened on January 21st, 2011 and presents a selection of antiquities, modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection.

Now a popular Tasmanian tourist attraction, the museum sees around 260,000 visitors a year - and founder David Walsh has decided to build a new hotel to cater for this influx of people.

His plans for a 172-room, five-star hotel have recently been unveiled - it will provide luxurious accommodation to those visiting Hobart for leisure, and it is also hoped to attract the national and international business and conference markets.

Speaking at an address to Tasmania's tourism industry, Mr Walsh said his reason for building the hotel was "very simple really. We like building stuff."

He went on to explain how work was progressing on the project. "This time, some may think it's gotten a little out of hand - the excavation alone is more than four times the size of that of the museum."

However, he also indicated that he was unconcerned about the scale of the work. "We seem to have some support, the plans have turned out pretty well," he added.

The tourism industry has 'boomed' since MONA opened six years ago, reports A number of new hotels have opened in the area and there's now an annual festival as well.

MONA co-chief executive Mark Wilsdon highlighted that the hotel could help to boost interstate tourism, which currently accounts for around 75 per cent of visitors.

"We expect MONA to be attractive to large segments of the national and international business and conference markets that previously haven’t turned to Tasmania due to a lack of appropriate infrastructure," he said.

Construction of the new hotel is expected to take about three years and will create around 300 jobs. Another 120 ongoing jobs will be created at the new hotel.

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