15 September 2017

Arriving and leaving: Travellers’ first and last nights in Tasmania

Tourism Tracer

The Tourism Tracer team has been analysing our 2016 data to investigate more information on our tourists and the effect of their entry and exit points on dispersal and, in particular, on their choice of first and last night locations. Do travellers to Tasmania get adventurous and disperse straight away or do they initially stay near to their arrival location? Similarly, near the end of their trip, do they position themselves near to their disembarkation point for their final night or are they feeling more adventurous by this stage in their travels? Well, please read on for some of our answers to these questions.

Firstly, the largest percentage of our tourists arrived through Hobart Airport (57.5%), followed by Devonport (via the Spirit of Tasmania, 26.4%) and Launceston Airport (16.1%). Similarly, 52.2% of tourists departed from Hobart, 27.3% from Devonport, and 20.5% from Launceston.

The majority of our visitors arrived and departed from the same port yet a considerable number arrived in Hobart and left from Launceston (9.7%) and vice versa (5.8%). Perhaps this “open jaw”-style pattern enabled travellers to take advantage of cheap airfares or better tailor their arrival and departure points to their particular chosen itinerary.

Now let’s look at each arrival port and its relationship with choice of first and night overnight locations by council region. The most popular first overnight locations among tourists arriving by the Spirit of Tasmania was Devonport (35.5%), followed by Central Coast (13.6%), Launceston (11.8%) and Latrobe (10%). Among those arriving through Hobart Airport, the most popular first overnight locations were Hobart (62.3%), Clarence (11.1%) and Glenorchy (6%). For those arriving by Launceston Airport, the most popular overnight locations were Launceston (47.1%), West Tamar (10%) and Meander Valley (8.6%).

Maps showing first and last overnight stay locations for all entry and exit locations

According to our data, Devonport was the most significant driver of dispersal on the first night, with tourists spreading themselves among 17 council areas. In comparison, arrivals in Hobart and Launceston Airports dispersed into 14 and 15 council areas respectively, for the first night.

In terms of last overnight location among tourists departing by the Spirit of Tasmania, Devonport was the most popular (21%), followed by Launceston (16%), Central Coast (8%) and Hobart (6%). For those departing from Hobart Airport, the most popular last overnight locations were Hobart (54%), Clarence (17.7%) and Glenorchy (5.1%). For tourists departing from Launceston Airport, the most popular last overnight locations were Launceston (51.3%), West Tamar (10.3%) and Northern Midlands (10.3%).

Tourists were dispersed through more council regions on their last night if they were leaving on the Spirit of Tasmania, with 24 in total. In comparison, tourists leaving from Hobart or Launceston Airports dispersed for their last overnight locations among 16 and 11 council areas respectively. Tourists leaving on the Spirit of Tasmania and from Hobart were more widely dispersed on the last night compared to the first night. On the other hand, tourists leaving from Launceston were less dispersed on the last night, compared to the first night. So, with Launceston bucking the Hobart and Spirit of Tasmania trend to be less cautious and conservative with the last night’s accommodation location than the first, it would be unwise to make any general statements about tourists becoming more dispersed and adventurous the more progressed they are in their trip to Tasmania.

Furthermore, it’s clear that the Spirit of Tasmania leads the way in terms of dispersal (at least for tourists’ first and last nights), with 64.5% immediately overnighting outside Devonport, followed by Launceston, with 53% and then Hobart with only 37.7% overnighting outside Hobart (and bear in mind this would be lower still if we added, for example, Clarence and Glenorchy, to Hobart). This pattern is even more heightened when looking at last night locations, with 79% of those leaving on the Spirit of Tasmania spending their previous night outside of Devonport and then 48.7% for Launceston and 46% for Hobart.