Tourists weathering it in Tasmania


All Tasmanians know that the weather can be fickle in our beloved island state – sunburn a concern one minute, snow on the mountain the next… But how much of a factor is weather for visitors to Tassie? Do different types of travellers respond in different ways to bad weather?

Well, we can reveal some very interesting results.

Overall, visitors to the island state are a pretty hardy bunch! Almost 50% of our travellers stated that the weather did not affect their decision-making while on the go. 32% admitted that they adapted their behaviour to the weather a little, while 15% admitted that the weather affected their plans a moderate amount. Only 4% claimed that weather affected them a lot.

Those travelling in their own cars via the Spirit of Tasmania are much less likely to be put off by unpleasant weather than those renting hire cars, with many more respondents in the former camp firmly stating that they would continue on regardless.

Planners, rather than spontaneous decision-makers, are also much more likely to forge ahead with pre-existing plans rather than be affected by the vagaries of Mother Nature.

Repeat visitors to Tassie obviously know what to expect!: they are much more likely to buckle down and continue on with planned activities despite bad weather as opposed to first-time visitors.

Tourists whose only holiday destination is Tasmania appear more determined to make the most of it, with that group much more likely to continue with pre-arranged activities whatever the weather.

Finally, age is a factor. Those over 60 are more likely to adapt travel plans to the weather, as opposed to their younger counterparts.

Just for fun we picked out two days’ of tourists’ travel patterns from the 2016 summer: one a fine day across the state and the other, a rainy day throughout Tasmania, to see if there are any discernible differences in travel patterns. Take a look at our accompanying visualisations!

Tourists to Tassie travelling in the dark

Time on Rdv2

The data that the visitor tracking project team has collected allows us to investigate tourist behaviour which may cause concern around safety, such as travelling long distances during the dark hours. As we break our data down into different demographic groups we can see whether particular groups of tourists are more likely to undertake this behaviour. This sort of information can then be helpful for the formulation of tourist information campaigns and for decision-making around infrastructure provision.

A number of tourists recruited to our project were recorded on the roads (including major highways) between the hours of 11pm and 6am. Between 2 am and 4 am only a couple of tourists were generally recorded on the road but after 4 am the number increased and by 6 am up to 20 tourists were reported on the road. Almost all tourists on the road after midnight were Australian residents but some overseas tourists were driving between 11 pm and midnight.


Understanding Social Media Use in the Sensing Tourist Travel Study

Brady Robards

The Sensing Tourist Travel project is about collecting data on how tourists move around Tasmania. As our earlier posts have demonstrated, this has primarily been through GPS data and surveys. Of course, many tourists are already ’sensing’ and recording their own travel, and ‘generating data’ on their trips through social media. People post photos, ‘check-in’ at locations they visit, tag travelling companions and businesses, write comments, and describe their trip as they go. As part of this project, we wanted to get a sense of how tourists used social media when they travelled. We had the following key questions:

  • What role does social media play in decision-making, before and during travel?
  • How do tourists record and share their experiences of travel with their networks on social media?
  • Does social media use change when people are away from home?
  • How might social media figure into the way people reflect on and remember travel after they return home?