‘Funky’ Hobart only Aussie city in Lonely Planet’s top ten
Hobart has been christened a funky cultural hub by travel bible Lonely Planet, which has named the city one of the 10 best in the world to visit in 2013.
HOBART has been christened a funky cultural hub by travel bible Lonely Planet, which has named the city one of the 10 best in the world to visit in 2013.
The Tasmanian capital’s $180 million Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has proved a beacon for international attention and is largely the reason for the listing in seventh place, Lonely Planet’s Chris Zeiher said.
“Particularly for international travellers, (the question) is what’s the big-hitter thing to come and actually see,” Mr Zeiher told reporters.
“So for people to be able to experience that massive thing in the first instance, they can then obviously experience all the things that Hobart has to offer.”
They include the high-end dining experiences of eateries like Garagistes, whose Katrina Birchmeier was recently named Australia’s best young restaurateur of 2012.
Hobart’s summer festivals including MONA FOMA, curated by Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie, and its convict-era attractions were also highlighted in the publisher’s Best in Travel guide.
With Hobart the only Australian city to make the Lonely Planet list – and one of only three in the southern hemisphere – the attention is expected to give a huge boost to the state’s struggling tourism sector.
The high Australian dollar has hit tourism hard, while the cost of air and sea access has been a constant controversy in the island state.
More flights from Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin, and the return of Tiger Airways next month, are expected to affect prices.
The Lonely Planet announcement comes just days after MONA’s owner, gambling millionaire David Walsh, settled a dispute with the Australian Tax Office that he claimed could have threatened the museum’s future.
MONA was set to announce a new winter festival, Dark MOFO, on Monday, and Mr Walsh is hoping to build a $25 million hotel near the museum in Hobart’s north.
“Everyone acknowledges the fantastic change that MONA has brought, not only to the tourism industry in Tasmania but the way Tasmanians feel about themselves,” state tourism minister Scott Bacon said.
Mr Zeiher said Hobart was emulating the success of destinations like the Spanish city of Bilbao which has reinvented itself since the construction of an iconic Guggenheim art museum.
He said the listing of New Zealand’s capital Wellington in 2010 had helped it to attract conference business as well as tourists. - AAP