Sunday, January 21, 2018

Mona unveils plan for next phase of growth

In an address made to Tasmania’s tourism industry today, David Walsh, founder, Mona, unveiled his intentions for Mona’s next phase of growth, including early designs for the proposed 172 room, five-star hotel on the museum’s current site in Berriedale, Tasmania.

“It’s very simple really. We like building stuff. So far it has gone pretty well for us, and hopefully also for our communities. This time, some may think it’s gotten a little out of hand – the excavation alone is more than four times the size of that for the museum – but we seem to have some support, the plans have turned out pretty well, and we can’t rest on our laurels for ever. The heart of Mona is chance,” said David Walsh, founder, Mona.

The proposed HOMO (HOtel at MOna) also includes a new spa treatment centre, public library, outside stage, restaurant and bar, auditorium, conference centre and function and retail spaces.

Currently, 74 percent (260,000) of Mona’s annual visitors travel from interstate. “We want to do all we can to continue to help drive the growth in interstate tourism we’ve experienced since Mona opened in 2011,” said Mark Wilsdon, co-CEO, Mona.

“We expect HOMO to be attractive to large segments of the national and international business and conference markets that previously haven’t turned to Tasmania due to a lack of appropriate infrastructure. New facilities, like the auditorium and theatre, will also allow us to further activate the site at night, and continue to diversify the appeal of Mona to Tasmanians too.”

The build of HOMO is expected to take approximately three years from commencement and will create 300 new full time construction jobs. When open, HOMO will deliver an additional 120 full time jobs on an ongoing basis.

The proposed HOMO development plan is yet to be submitted to Glenorchy City Council. A comprehensive consultation process with the public will be held at the same time.

In addition to developments onsite, Mona has made a proposal to the state government, through Events Tasmania, for funding to move Mona Foma, Mona’s summer festival, to Launceston.

“The festival’s original ten-year plan—to change the culture in Hobart—has come to fruition ahead of schedule. We’d like to embark upon a new creative journey – to relocate to Launceston in search of new challenges, new collaborations, fresh partnerships and novel creative models. We want to make it bigger, better, more creative, more diverse and more famous (and by famous we mean infamous),” said Brian Ritchie, Mona Foma curator.

“We recognise the value in a state-wide approach to tourism and events, and the importance of regional dispersal to sustainable economic growth. We’re excited by the opportunity that a Launceston-based Mona Foma presents, to develop and draw new audiences to the north of the state,” said Mr Wilsdon.

Mona is working with the Tasmanian government regarding the Launceston-based Mona Foma festival and is looking for the delivery of a favourable outcome as soon as possible.

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