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Tourism operators angry at Macquarie Wharf red tape and costs

Tourism operators, from left, Craig Wylie, of Wizzya There Minibus Service, Hobart Maxi Connect owner Paul Warner, Andrew Belik, of Tassie Tailor-Made Tours, and Brittney Kelly and Sharlene Kellner, of Devilmania Tours, want a better deal. Picture: Sam Rosewarne Source: Mercury

HIDDEN costs and increasing red tape are frustrating Tasmanian tourism operators, particularly those doing business around the Hobart cruise ship terminal.

Hobart Maxi Connect owner Paul Warner said operators were being pushed further away from the terminal at Macquarie Wharf 4.

"It's getting very hard and more expensive because of the hoops they're making us jump through," he said.

Mr Warner said he knew of operators who had been in the tourism business for years but were giving up and moving interstate.

"It's too complicated and too expensive to operate in this state.

It's driving operators away," he said.

Mr Warner said last year TasPorts charged operators $10 for access to parking spots near the terminal each time a ship visited.

He said now Destination Southern Tasmania had taken over the area and was charging $690 for a permit during the cruise ship season, with a a stringent application process.

Devilmania Tours owner Sharlene Kellner said she had been in business nine years and just wanted a fair go.

"Passengers are told they must book tours either on board or at the Visitor Information Centre, so smaller businesses are missing out," she said.

Ms Kellner said the visitor centre took a 15 per cent commission when tours were booked through it.

Craig Wylie, of Wizzya There Minibus Service, said it was disappointing operators were restricted.

"There are seven spots for operators but there's more than seven operators out there that want to do tours," he said.

"I never received an email asking me to apply as some others did. To me, it's discrimination."

Mr Wylie said many times some of the operators with permits for spots didn't show up when a ship was in.

"On Monday and Tuesday there will be three ships in with at least 2000 passengers on each. How will seven operators deal with it? There's enough business for everyone," he said.

Mr Wylie said he recently had a customer who had visited 42 ports and said Hobart was the worst in terms of facilities and called the new $7 million terminal "an empty shell".

Andrew Belik, of Tassie Tailor-Made Tours, said though his tours were cheaper than those offered to passengers on the cruise ships and at the Visitor Information Centre he was not trying to undercut anyone.

"I just want customers to have a nice holiday in Hobart and not pay exorbitant prices," he said.

Expensive business
Accreditation through DIER to drive tour vehicle – $500 (every three years).
Registration for vehicle operating for tours, 12-seaters – $1000-$3500 a year.
Six-monthly vehicle inspections – $150.
Additional registration cost to go up Mt Wellington – $350 a year.
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania accreditation – $200 a year.
Destination Southern Tasmania permit to operate near cruise ship terminal – $690 a year.
Cost to put brochures in the Visitor Information Centre or at the ferry terminal – from $150 a location per year.
Tours booked through Visitor Information Centre – 15 per cent of fee.