RACT, NRMA Tasmanian tourism deal welcomed by TICT's Luke Martin

The Cradle Mountain Hotel.
The Cradle Mountain Hotel.

The RACT's sale of some of Tasmania's key tourism assets has potential to take them to another level, an industry leader believes.

The RACT is selling a suite of Tasmanian tourism businesses to NRMA, including Cradle Mountain Hotel, Freycinet Lodge, Strahan Village and Gordon River Cruises.

NRMA says it plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in improving the assets during the next two to three years.

"RACT have been outstanding custodians of some of Tasmania's most iconic and important tourism assets over the past seven years," Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said .

"We welcome the investment by NRMA and their aspirations to take these beloved destinations to another level.

"As an industry, we see only tremendous opportunity from NRMA's extensive member base and Tasmania's stake in such a major national brand."

NRMA will significantly grow its tourism business though the acquisition.

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NRMA Expeditions chief executive Rachel Wiseman said NRMA hoped to continue work already done by RACT to further open up the state as a great place to visit.

"Australia's domestic tourism industry will play a critical role in driving Australia's recovery out of the pandemic and the NRMA sees Tasmania, with its unique all-year-round holidaying experiences, as being especially important in the coming years," Ms Wiseman said.

"With the possibility of international travel still way off for Australians, the NRMA expects the growth in domestic tourism numbers to continue as we turn to our own back yards to explore and relax.

""The RACT's excellent tourism assets are situated near some of the state's most popular destinations.

"Opening up these to NRMA's 2.6 million members and all Australians is a key priority for the NRMA.

"This means great holidays for Australians and a boost to the Tasmanian economy."

RACT chief executive Mark Mugnaioni said the deal highlighted confidence in the Tasmanian tourism market, especially in regional areas.

"Importantly, throughout this process, our people impacted by this decision have been our priority and we are pleased that NRMA has committed to support our people through a continued operational structure that will see our staff retained as part of the deal," he said.

"Our decision to sell these properties has been made to allow us to focus and re-invest in value opportunities for our members.

"We remain committed to providing our members with outstanding services across our products and we will continue to deliver new and improved member value offerings for our 200,000 Tasmanian members."

He said current and future member bookings were not affected by the change of ownership.

NRMA offers roadside assistance, car servicing, travel and other services in New South Wales and the ACT.

RACT (Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania) services include roadside assistance, driving lessons, fuel price monitoring, road safety and infrastructure lobbying and insurance.

Founded in 1923, it built its tourism portfolio in recent years.

The Cradle Mountain Hotel was officially opened in 2003.

Gordon River Cruises operates in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, while Freycinet Lodge is in the Freycinet National Park on the East Coast.

Strahan Village offers a range of accommodation types and Macquarie Harbour views.

Mr Martin said the RACT had developed and invested in world class visitor infrastructure such as the new Spirit of Wild Gordon River cruise boat and the Freycinet Pavilions.

"These were brave investments from the organisation that have lifted the bar for Tasmanian tourism across the state," he said.

This story NRMA invests in Tasmanian tourism businesses first appeared on The Advocate.