Tasmania’s award-winning Freycinet Lodge and Gordon River Cruises are among a portfolio of hotels and marine tourism services set to be acquired by the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA), adding further value to it’s $A800 million investment portfolio.

Cradle Mountain Hotel and Strahan Village are other unique tourism assets set to be acquired in the deal with Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania (RACT), which position NRMA as one of Australia’s largest transport and tourism operators ahead of an expected surge in domestic tourism as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The acquisitions follows NRMA’s minority investment in Cairns-based Coral Expedition in February, with the organisation announcing a new division to focus on strategically growing its investment in the tourism sector through acquisitions and partnerships.

NRMA Expeditions chief executive Rachel Wiseman said the division would benefit members, with Tasmania’s sophisticated food and cultural offerings, and unique natural assets being the perfect fit for such offerings.

“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,” she said.

“NRMA Expeditions will focus on delivering 5-star experiences in natural environments and this is exactly what the RACT acquisition will deliver.

Inside the Freycinet Lodge

Inside the Freycinet Lodge

The Cradle Mountain Hotel, which NRMA has purchased

The Cradle Mountain Hotel

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

RACT chief executive Mark Mugnaioni said the deal highlights a significant investment commitment for the properties, highlighting the buoyancy and confidence that exists within the Tasmanian tourism market.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“Importantly, throughout this process our people impacted by this decision have been our priority and we are pleased that NRMA has committed to support our people through a continued operational structure that will see our staff retained as part of the deal.”