MONA puts Tassie on map

   DANIELLE McKAY   |   March 27, 2011 12.01am

HOBART'S $175 million privately owned Museum of Old and New Art has been named the best experience in the world.

Australia's luxury magazine Gourmet Traveller revealed the Tasmanian coup in its April edition's annual Hot 100 list, announcing that Hobart was now "a compelling new calling card".

MONA edged out India's Taj Mahal, opulent hotels in France's romantic capital Paris and a strong Italian-accented wine list at Sydney's Pilu at Freshwater restaurant.

MONA research curator Delia Nicholls said it was thrilling news that the whole state should celebrate.

"It certainly raises our profile across Australia; it is a lovely endorsement," she said.

The provocative seaside attraction has lured more than 100,000 visitors since it opened in January.

"It shows that Tasmania is really putting Australia on the map, and that will benefit the entire state," Ms Nicholls said.

"We are finding anecdotally that people are saying that they had always wanted to visit Tasmania and now MONA has given them a reason to book and actually come here."

The magazine article says that multi-millionaire and art philanthropist David Walsh's five-year creation "was definitely worth the wait".

"Mona's January debut put it at the cutting edge of modern art and opened our eyes to one of the country's most exceptional collections. With a winery, a brewery, accommodation and a restaurant complementing the striking underground museum designed by Nonda Katsalidis, Hobart has a compelling new calling card," it said.

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said it was the kind of exposure that money could not buy.

"The state has a limited budget to spend on marketing, so having high-profile exposure in a publication such as this is really news that money can't buy," he said.

Mr Martin said the state's tourism industry now faced the challenge of capitalising on the opportunities that MONA was creating.

"The big challenge for the industry is to ensure visitors who come to MONA have the opportunity to visit other attractions around Tasmania," he said.

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