The Tasmanian government has approved the multi-million dollar refurbishment of two Bass Strait passenger ferries and will cut fares in a bid to bring more tourists to the state.
The two Spirit of Tasmania vessels will undergo renovation during winter 2015, while cabinet has approved a 14.8 per cent cut to fares over the next four years for the state-owned ships.
Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding says the plans are expected to attract an extra 64,000 passengers to Tasmania and boost tourism spending by $220 million a year by 2023.
"An additional 42 extra day sailings will be scheduled each year by 2018 and will also mean a significant increase in space for caravans, boat-trailers and `grey nomad' tourists," the minister said.
The refurbishment, which operators TT-Line say will cost tens of millions of dollars, will include an overall remodelling with new fittings, furniture and decor throughout passenger decks, a renovated bar and entertainment area, and technology upgrades including wi fi, media streaming and climate-controlled air conditioning.
It will be the first refurbishment for the ships since they came into service 12 years ago.
One of the vessels will be refurbished while in scheduled dry-dock, while the other vessel will be worked on while it's still in service.
The Tasmanian government aims to boost tourist numbers to 1.5 million per year by 2020.