Image for The dilemma with tourism ...

First published May 9

Barcelona’s dilemma with tourism, presents an interesting case study on the excesses of tourism ( Housing affordability: Barcelona cracks down on short-term tourist rentals amid rising rents ).

Their experience should prompt us to be prudent. Perhaps it would be smart to learn from their experience and facilitate a more nuanced and fine grained conversation on how tourism might grow to the benefit of all Tasmanians.

There appear to be two key dimensions: firstly risk management. Secondly impact amelioration for the most vulnerable in Tasmania.

Firstly : A concern is the risk posed to the Tasmanian economy and residents by foreseeable risks such as:

• A global financial crisis,

• A hollowing of modern middle class by sociopathic market change, fashion change, failure to close the loop on extractive/polluting primary industries and brand destruction, destruction of iconic wilderness, terrorism attack or pilots’ strike.

How might tourism investors and employees hedge their risks in these events?

How might State growth and portfolio strategies be designed and integrated to minimise these risks?

A serious global contraction, as posited by many ‘bear’ traders is very likely, except no one knows when.

It is not a question of if ... if history is any guide.

International and interstate travel: a capacity of residents of wealthy economies, would evaporate nearly overnight with such a contraction, as would the mass market for exotic consumer products.

Many sectors grown recently in Tasmania are very vulnerable to such an event.

Secondly: How might we grow the Tourism economy in a way that does not harm more vulnerable members of the community such as the homeless, unemployed, aged, students and young families of the future?

We are talking about a complex industry and the way in which it should be integrated into the Tasmanian ecosystem.

This is beyond the scope of a few narrow minded policy wonks; they do have a place but as part of informing a sophisticated, inclusive and open non-partisan policy conversation.

*Duncan Mills a Social Ecologist: is a third generation Tasmanian, family man, retired from 30 years of commodity agriculture 20 years ago. Now based in the Huon Valley.