SYDNEY, March 20 (Xinhua) -- An uptake in international visitors has been credited with a boom in Tasmania's tourism industry.
Data released by Tourism Tasmania on Monday revealed that 1.2 million people visited the island state in 2016, up 7 percent on the previous year.
Visitor spending also went up 10 percent with tourists pouring more than 1.5 billion U.S. dollars into the state's economy.
International visitors have been credited with much of the growth with visitors from China's Hong Kong increasing by 38 percent while Singapore and Malaysia were also significant growth markets.
Tasmania's Premier Will Hodgman said that increasing flights to and from Tasmania was key to the tourism boom.
"The challenge for us is to increase access routes, typically via air for international visitors, but also to stay ahead of the pack," Hodgman told reporters on Monday.
"We've continued to focus very heavily on China because it's one of our large sources of international visitors."
The number of visitors to Tasmania for overnight bushwalks grew almost 70 percent in a year, with the Three Capes Track in the state's southeast credited with the increase.
Two sections of the track were opened in December 2015 with construction of the third underway.
"That's a great example of the demand for people to experience our wonderful natural areas in a sensible, sustainable way," Hodgman said.
"We have been very determined to invest in key assets and obviously Three Capes is one of those."
Tourism Tasmania data said easier access to the island was a major part of the boom with visitors arriving by sea increasing 11 percent.
"We've put on additional sailings of the Spirit of Tasmania, and we refurbished the ships to make it a better experience," Hodgman said.
"This industry has an extraordinary track record. I'm the Minister for Tourism for a reason, we believe as a government it is a No. 1 priority to invest in and support."