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Thousands descend on Kangaroo Island for big week of tourism

KI Cup Carnival
Leon Bignell MP
Minister for Tourism

Kangaroo Island’s population is set to double during the next few days, with thousands of visitors expected to descend on the Island for a big week of tourism.

The action will start tomorrow and Saturday with the Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival, followed by three big events on Tuesday – the Queen’s Baton Relay, Fringe on KI and the arrival of the Queen Mary 2.

It will be the first time in history, the Queen’s Baton Relay will travel to Kangaroo Island, as part of its journey to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Kangaroo Island locals will proudly carry the Baton from Penneshaw to Kingscote, showcasing the region’s stunning landscape to the entire Commonwealth.

The relay will coincide with the arrival of cruise ship Queen Mary 2, which will see up to 4328 passengers and crew visit Kangaroo Island during the day.

Cruise ship passengers will have even more to do than usual during this visit, with the Adelaide Fringe Festival taking over Penneshaw and featuring performances from both local artists and national touring shows.

The additional visitors will be a massive boost for Kangaroo Island tourism operators and the wider community – who are all encouraged to join in the celebrations.

The State Government has invested an additional $70 million in tourism funding to market South Australia nationally and internationally and attract major events and conferences.

The State’s visitor economy has increased from $4.9 billion to a record-breaking $6.3 billion in the past four years, with regional areas receiving 40 per cent of the total visitor expenditure.

During this time international and domestic visitation to Kangaroo Island has increased by 16 per cent to 144,000 visitors. In the 2016/17 cruise season Kangaroo Island played host to 16 cruise ship visits, pumping more than $20 million into the local economy.

The Queen’s Baton is due to arrive into Penneshaw via a SeaLink Ferry on Tuesday 20 February 2018 at 9:40am, while the Fringe Festival and Penneshaw Markets will offer a combination of free and ticketed entertainment from 9:00am in the morning, through to the evening.

For a full schedule of the day’s activities, visit for the Queen’s Baton Relay or for the Fringe Festival program.

Quotes attributable to Tourism Minister Leon Bignell
Kangaroo Island is a fantastic place to visit all year round, but with so much happening this week, there’s never been a better time to jump on the ferry or book a plane ticket to check out this beautiful part of the world.

The annual KI Cup is always a winner and I’m sure we’ll see even bigger crowds on Tuesday when the colour and fun of the Fringe Festival rolls into town.

With pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and some of the world’s best produce, it’s easy to see why Hollywood superstar Chris Hemsworth has been raving about his time on Kangaroo Island.

This is the real Australia and the 144,000 visitors to Kangaroo Island last year seem to agree. Cruise ship passengers alone contributed $20 million into the local economy in the 2016/17 cruise season and this number is only going to rise with more ships confirmed for this year.

Tourism contributes nearly 35 per cent to the net worth of Kangaroo Island’s economy, which is why we’re investing in the sector, creating jobs and finding ways to improve experiences for visitors.

This is going to be a massive week for Kangaroo Island. I can’t wait to get amongst it myself and hope to see both locals and visitors getting behind these great events and supporting local tourism.