New Bass Strait ferries due in 2021

Two custom-built Bass Strait ferries will splash into service in 2021, two years earlier than expected.

The next-generation vessels will be 30 per cent larger than the current ships and will carry 43 per cent more passengers, Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman says.

"This is a game-changer for our state, with every single sailing of the next generation Spirits able to bring an additional 500 visitors, 115 additional passenger vehicles and 85 additional freight trailers," he said on Friday.

The ships will most likely be built in either Europe or Asia, Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said.

"While it is unfortunate that there are no Australian shipyards with the capacity to build the new Spirits, we will ensure Tasmanian products are used in the fit-out," he said.

The opposition called for more details on the costs of the scheme.

"Now the announcement is made, the government is obliged to provide more details around the cost of replacing the ships and how it intends to pay for it," Labor MP Shane Broad said.

"Without even a ballpark cost, it's a bit early for the Liberals to be patting themselves on the back for a job well done," he said.

Visitors to Tasmania who arrive by sea stay longer, spend more and disperse further into regional areas of the state than those who arrive by air, according to the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania.

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