South Australia’s tourism sector has hit a new record, with an all-time-high $7.6 billion spent by visitors to the State over the past year.
Statistics from the latest International and National Visitor Survey results show the total growth in visitor expenditure is up 12 per cent from last year.
In great news for SA’s country areas, regional visitor expenditure (including international) grew to a record high $3.3 billion, up 19 per cent - now contributing 44 per cent to the overall visitor expenditure in South Australia.
Acting Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Tim Whetstone, said interstate overnight visitation to regional South Australia had increased 10 per cent to 1.1 million overnight visitors – with a 21 percent increase in overall interstate expenditure to $2.5 billion.
South Australians were also on the move within their own state, with intrastate overnight visitors growing 13 per cent to a record high 3.5 million, spending $2.3 billion on their travels.
“While it is great for South Australia across the board, it is particularly pleasing for the regional tourism operators, who are getting good results from their hard work and realising strong growth,” he said.
“It’s great news, giving businesses throughout SA a real boost as we head into the back end of the year and into the summer months.”
International visitors increased by 1 per cent, yet the overall expenditure was down 5 per cent as people took shorter trips, reflecting the economic pressures and domestic issues experienced by key markets in the United States and United Kingdom.
China again led international growth – with a record high visitation of 66,500, up 19 per cent, and easily surpassing the original 2020 target of 57,000 visitors.
Japanese visits also grew, with 6 per cent more people choosing South Australia. These visitors stayed longer and spent more, with nights up 143 per cent and expenditure up 78 per cent.
Mr Whetstone said that the South Australian industry continued to report healthy airline loads, rising event numbers and increased demand for rooms.
“We have a very passionate and hard working sector, and we are working closely with them to identify fresh opportunities, new markets and creative campaigns. It is exciting times for us all as we track towards an $8 billion visitor economy by 2020,” he said.
South Australian Tourism Commission, Chief Executive Rodney Harrex, said the new figures gave the industry great confidence in its direction and strategy.
“We are determined to build a strong and competitive sector, and we have great partnerships with the dedicated operators across SA, who are all working towards the same goal,” he said.
“The tourism sector employs around 38,900 people across 18,000 businesses – across accommodation providers, tourism experiences, tours and more and I can tell you they are all totally invested in this industry and should be rightly proud of what they contribute to South Australia.”
CEO of Pirate Life Brewing John Phinney said today that the company was proud to contribute to and celebrate the success of the South Australia's tourism footprint over the course of 2019.
“After opening the doors of our Port Adelaide Brewery on 9 March, we've attracted over 75,000 intrastate, interstate and international tourists. These visitors range from craft beer aficionados traveling from overseas to visit one of Australia’s best beer destinations, to neighbours from around the corner wondering what all the fuss is about,” he said.
“Even better than the number of visitors is the number of beers we’ve served them 50,000 litres. With the ongoing support of the SA Government and SATC, we look forward to throwing more parties, brewing more beers, and achieving our dream of putting Australia’s best beers in the hands of as many people around the globe as we possibly can.”
Other South Australian companies also welcomed the statistics.
Acclaimed chef, Duncan Welgemoed from Africola, said he had witnessed an increase in the interstate and international demographic.
“Last week alone, 25% of our customers were from overseas, and 20% from interstate. It’s a beautiful thing to showcase what is so great about this State to a wider audience,” he said.
Seppeltsfield Wines Managing Director Steven Trigg said the company had seen visitation increase by 17.9% from April – June 2019 (compared to the same period last year).
“This proves our diverse visitor experience of wine, food, craft, design and beauty is a winning combination,” he said.
Visit the Tourism Research Australia website to view the latest International and National Visitor Survey’s www.tra.gov.au