From the CE's Desk

South Australian Tourism Commission Chief Executive Rodney Harrex recaps the first three months of 2016 in his quarterly update. View the video below.

Further to Rodney’s overview, here is a detailed roundup of all the key activities that the SATC has been working on, through the last few months.

SA celebrates record results

The recent release of the Federal Government’s international and national visitor statistics, has been an important one for the SATC with significant gains and some of our best tourism figures on record. Our hard work and commitment to growing the visitor economy and driving demand for South Australia underpins everything we do.

Highlights of the domestic and international visitor statistics as of December 2015:

  • International visitor’s expenditure reached an all-time high of $897 million, up 26 per cent, and all key international results surpassed the national growth rate.
  • Total domestic expenditure increased by 5 per cent to $4.7 billion.

Mad March

The first half of the year is always a busy time of year for the SATC with Santos Tour Down Under and Clipsal 500 Adelaide. The SATC again provided significant support to the Adelaide Fringe, WOMADelaide and the Adelaide Festival – all providing significant visitation to Adelaide. In fact, some of these events had their biggest sales and visitor numbers on record.

Adelaide also played host to new events like the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open Golf and the Socceroos vs Tajikistan FIFA World Cup Qualifier. Both attracted strong crowds, despite the busy time of year, showing there is a demand for events like these in Adelaide and that we are well equipped to support them.

The SATC was able to capitalise on the interest in Adelaide by hosting four high profile national television programs – The Project and The TODAY Show both broadcast live from Adelaide as well as filmed regional segments. Better Homes and Gardens and Getaway had film crews in and around South Australia during that time as well. This national spotlight with an audience potential of many millions was on South Australia in this peak event season.

Business events the silent achiever

The Convention Bid Fund has helped secure 27 major conventions due to be held between 2015 and 2021. These conventions will bring more than 30,600 delegates to Adelaide and generate more than $140 million in economic benefit for the state.

Business events are great for the State especially during the quieter winter months which will also help our restaurants, bars and hotels. Our research shows that these visitors are high yield, on average spending $632, more than three times that of leisure visitors, and are more likely to make a return visit.

While the impact of leisure events are profound, one should not underestimate the significance of business events to the State.

Regions in focus

Our regions, in particular, are vital for tourism in this State and federal support has been encouraging. The latest round of the Federal Government’s Tourism Demand Drive Infrastructure program saw South Australian projects receive a $1 million funding boost.

The funding will go to nine different projects across our regions including upgrading visitor facilities on Granite Island and improving facilities for recreational fishing in the Barossa Valley and Southern Flinders Ranges.

This is the second year of a four year agreement, with the federal government committing a total of around $4 million over four years.

The SATC also worked closely with DEWNR to release the ‘Nature like nowhere else – Strategy and Action Plan for activating nature-based tourism in South Australia’. This has the potential to increase expenditure by $345 million per annum and importantly generate approximately 1000 jobs.

Driving demand nationally

The SATC has also been busy working on trade partnerships to complement its ‘always on marketing’ strategy. The SATC recently partnered with Virgin Australia to promote South Australia as an attractive holiday destination to the rest of Australia. The campaign, ‘Let Yourself Go’, featured on bus shelter advertising, aerobridge advertising, inflight video content and airport posters as well as digital banners. The Mad March period saw the launch of the ‘Sleep when you get home’ campaign in key interstate markets.

The SATC also instigated key partnerships with travel sites including TripAdvisor, Stayz, Expedia and Wotif.com to help drive visitation to South Australia in key international and domestic markets.

These relationships are so important and integral to driving actual visitor numbers to the State.

  • Wilpena Pound Resort

    New South Australian Indigenous Tourism Champion.

    Wilpena Pound Resort
  • Tandanya National Cultural Institute

    New South Australian Indigenous Tourism Champion.

    Tandanya
  • Virgin Australia Campaign

    'Let Yourself Go' campaign.

    SATC Marketing Campaign
  • 2016 Santos Tour Down Under

    Peloton at Stage Three of the race.

    TDU
  • Destination SA

    Destination SA business event taking place at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

    Adelaide Convention Centre
SA presented to billions in China

The SATC has been very active internationally with campaigns in all key markets. The SATC continues its focus on China and has undertaken key initiatives to promote the state – encouraging visitation, increasing awareness and engagement.

The SATC has been working closely with Tourism Australia to bring the number one rated TV program in China, Running Man, to South Australia to film an episode featuring the Barossa and Adelaide. It aired in January to an estimated audience of 200 million.

A promotion was recently held in conjunction with Study Adelaide at a shopping mall in Qingdao to create awareness to South Australia as a tourism destination to consumers.

Likewise, the SATC partnered with Ctrip, the largest online travel agency in China, and Travel Expert, the largest travel retailer, to promote South Australia’s self-drive holidays and a variety of consumer promotions. In fact, Adelaide was recently voted #8 in the Top 10 Best Self Drive destinations by consumers on a voting online program organized by Ctrip.

International activation to spotlight SA

The SATC has campaigns running in Singapore with MediaCorp and TODAY Online to create an online travel hub featuring specific SA-related content. It is the first time the SATC is rolling out such a large scale consumer direct campaign.

The SATC also had a presence at the Singapore Laneway Festival that featured the new Virtual Reality headsets to get a taste of South Australia’s coastal and aquatic experiences. The booth attracted about 500 festival goers with almost 300 people donning the headsets.

A wider New Zealand campaign to drive consumer demand using television, digital and traditional advertising has also been underway in this first quarter. This means that South Australia is ‘always on’ in the New Zealand market and easily accessible. The campaign will run until May 2016 and will involve a competition where New Zealanders can go into the draw to win their ultimate South Australian holiday.

A significant partnership with National Geographic in the US, one of the most respected global media brands to develop and distribute original content, will showcase South Australia’s travel experiences, inspiring high-yield American travellers to make SA part of their Australian adventure.

We also have digital campaigns with Qatar Airways in market in UK and Europe in the lead up to their Adelaide launch in May.

Cruise ships

The cruise ship season is in full swing – earlier this month Queen Victoria visited Kangaroo Island, the first Cunard ship and the largest ship by passenger numbers to ever visit the Island, followed by P&O Pacific Eden’s first home port itineraries from Adelaide. This is fantastic for increasing bed nights in Adelaide and encouraging longer holiday packages within SA from the cruise industry.

The cruise ship sector continues to perform on target and by mid-May, the end of our season, we will have welcomed 37 ships state-wide. The cruise industry is integral for our visitor economy with last year’s cruise season generating $16.1 million in direct expenditure.

Partnering with Tourism Australia

The SATC has helped add new South Australian Indigenous Tourism Champions to the Indigenous Tourism Champions Program.

Wilpena Pound Resort in the Flinders Ranges and Tandanya National Cultural Institute in Adelaide were accepted to the program in March. They join South Australia’s two other champions, Aboriginal Cultural Tours in the Yorke Peninsula and Ticklebelly Hill in Port Augusta.

The SATC continues to work with Tourism Australia on the Aquatic and Coastal campaign and it is great to see the addition of new tourism products in the Eyre Peninsula, the Streaky Bay Seafood Safari, Goin’ Off Safaris and Heli Eyre, all growing our repertoire of products in the aquatic and coastal space.

A final word

We have a lot to celebrate as an industry, but we also have many challenges ahead. We have to keep our foot on the pedal and work harder than ever as an industry to achieve the targets set in the South Australian Tourism Plan 2020.

Tourism is an economic priority for South Australia and is an important pillar in the new economy. It is a really exciting time for the tourism industry and we are committed to continue to grow the visitor economy.

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