GEELONGPORT on Monday 23 October celebrated the first anniversary of Spirit of Tasmania’s arrival at the port.

Spirit of Tasmania moved to Geelong one year ago after being based at Station Pier in Melbourne for many years.

Spirit of Tasmania has operated 902 sailings between Geelong and Devonport in the first year, bringing an estimated $21 million to the Greater Geelong and Bellarine region in that period.

GeelongPort CEO Brett Winter said data indicated visitor expenditure exceeded initial projections.

“The uplift in visitor spend since Spirit of Tasmania’s move to Geelong is on track to exceed initial projections of $57.3 million by 2030,” he said.

Spirit of Tasmania acting CEO John McGrath said the move to Geelong had been a great success for the company with a record number of passengers – 450,012 to be precise – sailing during the 2022-23 financial year.

“During the financial year, we transported more than 213,766 passenger vehicles and 106,578 TEU (freight),” he said

GeelongPort believes construction of the Spirit of Tasmania Quay has set a new standard in terminal ferry facilities.

Mr McGrath said the move in Victoria has allowed Spirit of Tasmania to establish new relationships with freight clients and tourism providers and strengthen key markets in Victoria’s western region.

“The new terminal at Geelong has significantly improved the company’s ability to deliver an elevated level of service to our passengers across all areas of our business,” Mr McGrath said.

“We’re even more excited about the future with two new larger vessels arriving in 2024 to replace our current fleet. The increased number of passengers travelling in both directions presents a huge opportunity for the tourism industry here in Victoria and in Tasmania.”

Mr Winter said the arrival of Spirit of Tasmania has enabled GeelongPort to diversify its operations to include tourism and freight services.

“The arrival of Spirit of Tasmania has strengthened regional Victoria’s link to Tasmania and we expect it will open up even more trade and investment opportunities into the future,” he said.

“It’s been a strategic and smart move by Spirit of Tasmania and we see it as a model for other companies looking to explore opportunities in regional centres.”