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Industry Update - regional roundtables, intrastate travel & guidelines for workplaces

Painted Hills, Anna Creek Station, Wrightsair Scenic Flight in SA's Flinders Ranges & Outback - photography by Adam Bruzzone

INDUSTRY UPDATE


Dear industry colleague,
 
Following on from my brief update in the April edition of Tourism News, I want to share with you a summary of the discussions had in our regional engagement sessions – Rod’s Regional Roundtable – held last week, as well as key next steps.
 
The focus for Rod’s Regional Roundtable was to hear directly from key representatives across all 11 of our state’s regions on the issues facing them, specifically in relation to COVID-19. As I have previously flagged, our intent at this time of year was to engage the regions to develop the 2025 Regional Visitor Strategy but due to the impacts of COVID-19, this work will resume at a more appropriate time later this year. Our focus for now is on the support our regions need to get through this crisis and be in the best possible position to rebound on the other side. The SATC team remains committed to supporting our state’s 18,000 tourism businesses, and we are working on how we can direct the money otherwise spent on interstate and international travel back into our state, while borders are closed.
 
A summary of the discussions held across our state’s regions, including focus areas for next steps:

  • Industry in our regions are eager to welcome back visitors as soon as health experts give the ‘green light’
  • Regions are ready to respond to the domestic opportunity as intrastate and later, interstate opens up again
  • The domestic opportunity is massive – South Australians spend $3.3 billion on overseas holidays – the SATC is working to direct this money back into the state
  • Guidelines from SA Health in relation to cleaning and social distancing will assist businesses in regions to open to visitors; ideas such as an accreditation ‘tick’ were discussed
  • A marketing campaign with a strong call-to-action for bookings (in a similar vein to BookThemOut) will be welcomed by regions when tourism starts to open up
  • Industry is pleased to hear that the SATC is working closely with partners in the domestic distribution system, such as RAA and Phil Hoffman Travel, who will require product and new itineraries
  • Infrastructure such as signage (both brown and destination signs) are important for regions, and the SATC is working to update this where it is needed
  • There are opportunities for regions as the self-drive market (road trips) and nature-based experiences are likely to be immediately popular among South Australians, where they can easily social distance
  • SATC is working closely with Tourism Australia on marketing initiatives, particularly to help Australian would-be travellers to be able to plan future trips to SA
  • Cruise industry – we will continue to monitor the sector but it seems likely that Australian voyages by Australian consumers will be first to resume, once they are given approval to do so
  • The forward plan for events will take more time to consider, but the Events South Australia team is working on a roadmap to deliver events once restrictions are lifted and to assist the sector so that consumers are confident to attend events/festivals.

I hope you find this snapshot useful and that you can be assured that my team is working to support the sector wherever we can. I recognise there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future brings, however I am confident that South Australia is in good stead, having just hit our 13th consecutive day of zero cases – and I look forward to hearing more following the next National Cabinet meeting on Friday. 

I am sharing all of the information, concerns, ideas and other feedback that we are hearing from industry directly with the State Government to help inform forward plans, in particular with SA Health as we work together on future easing of travel restrictions and any impacts on regions.
 
In today's daily press conference, Premier Steven Marshall mentioned the possible easing of restrictions on regional travel as early as next week, which is great news for industry. This was following an article in The Advertiser today titled Regions poised to open arms once lockdown over (see pictured in full Industry Update below) which talked to the Mayors of Kangaroo Island, Flinders Ranges and Yorke Peninsula – some of whom were represented in our regional engagement sessions – about the possibility of intrastate travel. From three weeks ago, when the health advice was to stay at home, these regional leaders are keen to welcome back tourists once health officials permit. It is pleasing to see we are aligned on that and as I have said, the SATC is focused on how we can remind South Australians of what’s in their backyard, as soon as our State’s Chief Medical Officer advises that it is safe to travel within our state.

You may have heard from Prime Minister Scott Morrison today that Safe Work Australia has produced a COVID-19 information for workplaces resource kit which includes fact sheets and guidance for businesses on how to operate as a “COVID-19 safe” workplace from cleaning to physical distancing. I know this was one thing that was discussed across all of our regional engagement sessions and I strongly encourage you to refer to these resources, to start thinking about how you can operate under any easing of restrictions, to help protect your customers, employers, and the community. As you can see from the image below, you can find the information most relevant to you by selecting options from the drop-down menus.

I remind you again of the importance of the COVIDSafe app to assist health officials tackle the spread and hopefully, help our tourism sector get back to some kind of normal, sooner. 
 
Take care. 
 
Rodney Harrex
Chief Executive

See the full Industry Update - 5 May 2020 here.