Ben Lomond’s future potential doesn’t live in large-scale commercial ski resorts, but rather in catering for year-round niche interests.
Visit Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said Ben Lomond was unique to Tasmania’s other mountain peaks, and needed to harness its uniqueness in a post-COVID environment.
Mr Griffin agreed with the sentiment that there was potential for Ben Lomond to establish itself as a destination in its own right, but the market might be different to what most people would be expecting.
However, he said at the heart of any new development or plan for Ben Lomond was a new public shelter, which has been funded for by the state government. It’s expected to be built over summer 2021.
The new public shelter was funded by the government after the Ben Lomond Alpine Hotel burned down in 2018. The owners of the building have the lease for sale and are not rebuilding.
He said in a post-COVID environment, tourism industry bodies were looking to market destinations to appeal to a myriad of small micro-interest and Ben Lomond was the perfect place for that formula.
“Because of the type of environment it is, and how short the season is [for snow] it’s not about establishing it as a ski resort, because that’s not what it is,” he said. “What we could look at, would be to invest infrastructure to support micro interests such as photography, mountain bike riding, bushwalking and other adventure tourism.
“You might not get hundreds of people there, but you might get tens, and each of the interests attracts other crowds.”
A former New Zealander, Mr Griffin said Tasmania should not look towards its cousin across the ditch for inspiration for Ben Lomond.
“What New Zealand has done really well, as it’s become really good at commercial adventure tourism, but it’s not something we can replicate here, because the environment is so different,” he said.
Tasmania could look to how Mount Kosciuszko has managed its ski fields in the face of climate change and changing seasons, if it looked to replicated that on Ben Lomond.
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