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Spirit of Tasmania boosting tourism

More passengers than ever before have forward-booked a seat on the Spirit of Tasmania, which is set to boost Australian tourism, according to the state government.

There has been a 15 per cent increase on tickets bought for travel on the ship, which is 40,000 more tickets or 304,000 in total.

Jeremy Rockliff, acting tourism minister for the state government, said: "We have invested $31.5 million (15.1 million) refurbishing the passenger areas. We have increased day sailings and also significantly lowered the average fare prices."

These were plans the state government put in place to increase the amount of tickets that were bought for the Spirit of Tasmania, which are now evidently working.

Mr Rockliff believes that the spike in interest is "capturing the curiosity of travellers and having a great flow-on effect, especially on tourism and hospitality".

Numbers from the state government are showing that bookings for day sailing have increased by 50 per cent from this time in 2015 and by 80 per cent from the year before that.

Over 2016 there will be 121 day sailings, which is 39 more trips from last year, which Mr Rockliff says will be good news for tourism operators across the state.

Ian Waller from the Cradle Coast Authority agreed with Mr Rockliff, saying that it gives tourism operators "confidence about the future and that's really important".

The reason why it's important is because the state's industry is "impacted by seasonality, so advanced bookings give the industry confidence that we can move into the future with renewed confidence that visitors are going to continue to come".

Passengers on the ship are going to be able to enjoy much more remote areas of the state, according to Mr Waller, but he also said that it was important for tourism operators to capitalise on this influx of visitors.

He commented: "We've got make sure we give them what they want and they go home as ambassadors for what they've seen."

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