If you had to rank mountain biking, trout fishing, scuba diving, quad biking and golf for their popularity as tourist activites in Tasmania where you would put mountain biking?
Anyone bullish enough to place it number one? I’d guess most of us would say it would come in second or third in that list, but the truth is ... it’s a lowly fourth, beating only scuba diving as an attraction participated in by interstate and international visitors to Tasmania.
Yep, according to the latest (March 2015) Tourism Visitor Survey of Tasmania, out of the 1.1 million visitors that came to Tasmania over the past year, just 10,808 (1.0%) listed mountain biking as an activity they participated in (remembering of course that this is based on a sample, so this number would be +/- a confidence internval).
To put this in some context 1.1% of visitors list quad biking as an activity they participated in, 1.7% went on some form of sea kayaking or canoeing activity, 1.9% went trout fishing, 2.5% played golf and if we really want to start wondering what’s going on ... 2.7% went on a train journey (in Tasmania!).
Cycling (including mountain biking and anyone else that jumped on a bike) faired better at 1.9% of visitors, but still these numbers aren't screaming out that cycling is the new golf (never mind the next Mona). In fact cycling in total is just on par with trout fishing and still behind the number of those that actually played golf. In the context that 43.3% of visitors did some form of bushwalking and 66.1% did some form of outdoor or other activity, well let’s just say we might want to use the term ‘niche and expanding’ sector in the short term.
Now before you all go and dish me for putting a downer on our fledgling mountain biking industry, let me assure you I’m not, I’m just pointing out that we've now got some good baseline data – that is where the statistics say we’re at now, which will give us a great chance to see what happens in the future with all the new trails we've now got in place.
I think it’s great that the Tasmanian Visitor Survey began collecting this information in July 2013 which means we’ll have a growing data set of mountain biking visitors to Tasmania.
Meanwhile we can just be content with the numbers we’ve got and the knowledge that we’re still big spenders (well that’s what the statistics say) so despite turning up with muddy bikes and wanting a shower ... tourism providers still love us.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself, and if that fails, I’ll console myself with the fact that at least we’re more popular than scuba divers.
This artile was based on the Tasmania Visitor Survey (TVR) Anaylser Database which is accesiible from http://www.tourismtasmania.com.au/research/tvs . It was based on the April 2014 to March 2015 year which is the latest available.