King Island has not received the same boost as mainland Tasmanian operators from the push for people to holiday at home, says a tourism operator.
Aaron Suine and his husbank Nick Stead moved to King Island late last year to run Kittawa Lodge.
Mr Suine said tourism operators on King Island needed visitors from mainland Tasmania.
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He said anecdotal evidence suggested mainland operators had benefited much more substantially from intrastate visitors than those on King Island.
Despite the struggling tourism sector Mr Suine insisted there were worse places to ride out a pandemic.
Having moved from Paddington, Sydney last year he said his family had enjoyed the open spaces provided by King Island.
“We feel very fortunate that we are not in the close confines of a heavily populated metropolitan city like Sydney,” he said.
King Island Tourism president Adam Hely, who operates a car rental business, said while other sectors of the King Island economy had performed well during COVID, tourism had taken a massive hit.
He said the tourism dollar was vital because it flowed right through the community.
“It is important to the shopping centres, to the motels, to the car hire, to the fuel stations, to everyone,” Mr Hely said.
Mr Hely said now is the perfect time for Tasmania’s to get out and explore King Island.
“Come over and discover what is in your backyard – you’ve got the opportunity now where it is COVID free over here … we’re open for business we just don’t have the traffic,” he said
King Island mayor Julie Arnold encouraged Tasmanians to tick visiting the island off their bucket list while they’re unable to travel interstate.
The mayor said without tourists from the mainland coming to the island it was vital they attract Tasmanians.
She said now that severe travel restrictions had been lifted with Tasmanians allowed to travel around the state, they wanted people to make the trip to the Bass Strait island.
“Now that we are open to Tasmania some areas have gone back to normal and we are now pushing very hard to try and boost the numbers of our Tasmanian family from the mainland coming to King Island for tourism purposes,” Cr Arnold said.
“[We] have been working very hard to remind people that they can come and visit.
“We see so many people who say ‘I must go to King Island’. If it is on your bucket list this is when we want you, we want you now.”
Cr Arnold said the island had something for everyone.
“You have your walking tracks and your beaches if you’re walkers. We have a lot of history, we are a soldier settler island… so we have a museum that shows all of that,” she said.
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