Capitalising on an expected surge in domestic tourism as Australians holiday closer to home, the NRMA has moved on one of Tasmania’s largest tourism portfolios.
The NRMA, led by Rohan Lund, inked a deal to buy several high-profile hotels and a cruise business from its Tasmanian equivalent, the Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania.
The portfolio includes the Freycinet Lodge in the Freycinet National Park, Cradle Mountain Hotel, Strahan Village and Gordon River Cruises on Tasmania’s west coast.
The tourism assets build on NRMA’s $800-million investment in tourism as the company aims to cement its position as one of Australia’s largest transport and tourism operators.
The company also announced on Tuesday the creation of NRMA Expeditions, to be led by NRMA Chief Investment Officer Rachel Wiseman.
The new division will focus on growing its investment in the tourism sector through acquisitions and partnerships.
“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,” Wiseman said.
“Tasmania, with its natural assets and sophisticated food and cultural offerings, will be central to this.
“NRMA Expeditions will focus on delivering five-star experiences in natural environments and this is exactly what the RACT acquisition will deliver.”
RACT group CEO Mark Mugnaioni said the deal would result in the investment of tens of millions of dollars in improvements over the next two to three years.
“This deal includes a significant investment commitment for the properties and opens them up to NRMA’s 2.6 million members, highlighting the buoyancy and confidence in the Tasmanian tourism market, particularly in regional areas,” he said.
The buying spree is expected to create a $1-billion business at NRMA. It builds on its minority investment in Cairns-based Coral Expeditions made last month.