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Scott Gadd
Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Parks, Heritage and the Arts

Tasmania's magnificent natural environment has been identified as the State's greatest wildlife tourism asset in the Tasmanian Wildlife Tourism Strategy 2005.

The strategy was launched today by the Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Parks, Heritage and the Arts, Scott Gadd, at Tamar Island Wetlands, a conservation area abounding in wildlife, 10 minutes north of Launceston.

Mr Gadd said the strategy recommends developing outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities at selected Great Wildlife Sites.

He said that through the implementation of the strategy, Tourism Tasmania and the Parks and Wildlife Service will work together, and with partners, to improve opportunities for visitors to view Tasmania's native animals and to develop new wildlife viewing experiences.

"The story of what visitors find so compelling about Tasmania's native animals is fascinating," Mr Gadd said.

"And it's not quite what we expected when we started looking for ways to make the most of our advantages in wildlife tourism.

"When we began, we already had a pretty good idea that the Tasmanian devil and the history of the Tasmanian tiger were well known outside the State. And we thought our marine mammals and seabirds would rate a mention.

"But it turns out that our greatest wildlife tourism asset is the beautiful landscapes in which our animals live."

The strategy was endorsed at the launch by visiting Tasmanian-born wildlife enthusiast and internationally best-selling author Bradley Trevor Greive.

Mr Greive, who is also Governor of the Taronga Foundation, has described Tasmania as a cornucopia of dreamlike creatures offering wildlife experiences beyond comparison.

Research for the Tasmanian Wildlife Tourism Strategy has found that encounters with native animals deepen visitor appreciation of Tasmania's core tourism appeal of nature, making the natural experiences promised by the tourism brand even more memorable.

It has also shown that the Tasmanian devil enjoys iconic recognition outside Tasmania, and visitors will go out of their way to visit a wildlife park to see one.

"The best opportunities for wildlife parks to increase customer satisfaction and improve their yield are to ensure they have a distinctive focus, and to branch into more interactive interpretation, exploration and encounters, such as tours," Mr Gadd said

"Our research revealed that wildlife tours in Tasmania have great appeal. They are excellent avenues for building awareness of our native animals."

The strategy urges tour operators to focus on minimal environmental impact, authenticity, intrigue, excitement and opportunities to view wildlife in its natural habitat.