RACT sells off Tassie tourism assets to NRMA

New owner for Freycinet Lodge, Gordon River Cruises and more

NRMA has bulked up its tourism assets in Australia through the acquisition of RACT’s hotels and marine services in Tasmania, including the fabled Freycinet Lodge and Gordon River Cruises.

The sale also includes Cradle Mountain Hotel and Strahan Village on the west coast, strengthening NRMA’s  $800 million investment in tourism that includes acquiring a stake in Coral Expeditions.

The National Roads & Motorists’ Association will create a new division that focuses strategically on growing the company’s investment in the tourism sector via further acquisitions and partnerships. NRMA Expeditions will be headed by NRMA Chief Investment Officer, Rachel Wiseman, who will be the new division’s CEO.

Freycinet Lodge, Tasmania | Source: Facebook/Freycinet Lodge

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“International travel will likely be a way off for Australians and we believe domestic tourism will play a critical role in driving Australia’s post-COVID economic recovery. Tasmania, with its unique natural assets and sophisticated food and cultural offerings, will be central to this,” Wiseman said.

“NRMA Expeditions will focus on delivering five-star experiences in natural environments and this is exactly what the RACT acquisition will deliver.

“Our members have told us, overwhelmingly, that they want new experiences and we want to deliver that for them.”

Gordon River Cruises | Source: Facebook

Mark Mugnaioni, Group CEO of RACT said the investment commitment in the portfolio by NRMA highlights “the buoyancy and confidence that exists within the Tasmanian tourism market, particularly in regional areas of the state”.

“Our commitment to quality experiences that match the unique Tasmanian landscape in which we operate, is one of the key reasons for the NRMA’s interest in these properties.  RACT is pleased to be able to hand over the keys of this iconic portfolio to a like-minded organisation that is keen to continue to invest in the Tasmanian tourism industry,” Mugnaioni said.

Strahan Village, Tasmania | Source: Facebook

Under the deal, staff will be retained by NRMA.

According to The Australian Financial Review which broke the news on Monday, NRMA is also circling Journey Beyond, the operator of The Indian Pacific, The Ghan, Sal Salis, Cruise Whitsundays and numerous other experiential tourism assets, for either a potential partnership/joint venture or even a take-over.

Lead image: Freycinet Lodge

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