Tourism’s next big thing

THE Wilderness Society and The Tree Projects have launched the Big Tree State report that showcases eight big tree tourism visitor proposals including two in the Styx and Tyenna Valleys.

The report outlines how these eight sites could boost visitor spending in the regions.

The two groups estimated the big tree destinations could draw 139,000 visitor annually and would generate $20.2 million for regional communities, creating an estimated 163 indirect jobs.

The report said $745,000 would be needed to establish and develop the sites.

The Big Tree locations are in the Styx, Tyenna and Huon valleys and have been chosen for their outstanding quality of trees, existing infrastructure such as tracks and roads, as well as proximity to local communities.

“This super-exciting Big Tree State forest tourism plan is a gamechanger and ticks the boxes of Brand Tasmania and the government’s new tourism strategy,” Tom Allen from the Wilderness Society Tasmania said.

“The brilliance of these eight big tree proposals is that they celebrate and leverage the island’s natural infrastructure: forests and giant trees. The Big Tree State report also strategically aligns with the Tasmania’s Government’s new visitor economy strategy and action plan.

“For eminently affordable funding, it will be possible to upgrade these destinations for visitors, including straightforward actions like restoring dormant tracks and updating signage. In return you get visitors and tourists, thriving local communities and exciting opportunities to generate value – no forest destruction required.

“Big tree tourism is hugely popular in locations like California, Taiwan and New Zealand, where tourism and government work together to get people up, in and around huge trees and wonderful forests.

Tasmania is a global big tree destination in waiting. Until now, there’s been little support or recognition but the Big Tree State report changes all that,” the Tree Projects’ Steve Pearce said.

Mr Pearce said conversations with tourism organisations, operators and entrepreneurs had already begun and, over the next few months they would be working to make Tasmania a global big tree destination.