20 Jan 2023

Best month ever for tourism spend

Santos Tour Down Under 2023, Fleurieu Peninsula
Santos Tour Down Under 2023, Fleurieu Peninsula

South Australia’s tourism industry has clocked the highest-ever tourism spend in a single month.

New data released today shows visitor spend in South Australia hit an all-time high for October 2022.

At $929 million, it is the closest the state has been to $1 Billion spent by tourists in one month.

The record-high was driven by continued strength in the domestic market, with expenditure up almost one third on the same period in 2019.

Tourism in October was also boosted by school holidays and a long weekend, major conferences and increased business travel, as well as events such as Oz Asia Festival, Bay to Birdwood and the Adelaide Film Festival.

New data released today by Tourism Research Australia for the month of October 2022 shows:

  • Total visitor expenditure in South Australia in October 2022 was 125 per cent of 2019 levels – making it an all-time high for the state
  • At $929 million, it is the highest spend of any month on record
  • Interstate spend for the month was $365 million, up 18 per cent on 2019 levels
  • Intrastate spend was $310 million, up a whopping 46 per cent on the pre-COVID October in 2019.

The record-breaking data comes as the Santos Tour Down Under continues to attract visitors across Adelaide and regional SA, with the Hahn Men’s Stage 3 today racing from Norwood to Campbelltown.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said it is an incredible result for South Australia’s tourism industry.

"These figures don’t happen by accident," Premier Malinauskas said.

"By bringing back the Adelaide 500, investing in other major events like the AFL’s Gather Round and LIV Golf, and investing an additional $45 million in tourism marketing, we are once again putting South Australia on the map.

"Our calendar of events is now the envy of the nation, and those who work in the tourism and hospitality industries, which suffered deeply through the pandemic, are now seeing the economic benefits delivered."

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said tourism recovery has taken leaps and bounds in recent months. 

"We're now at seven consecutive months of seeing expenditure near or above pre-COVID levels – and this latest data shows we’ve reached a new record high," Minister Bettison said.

"With fabulous events, strong growth in business travel and our conference sector, as well as the traditional holiday peak periods like school holidays driving huge levels of domestic tourism – operators are reaping the rewards.

"It was only last month when we celebrated having recovered 90 per cent of our visitor economy, and with today’s results – our shot at reclaiming the $8.1 billion is looking very bright."

CEO Business Events Adelaide, Damien Kitto said the more than $2.5 billion business events sector has quickly returned for South Australia.

"9000 high spending business delegates attended national and international business events in October. Venues, hotels, event suppliers, restaurants and retailers benefited significantly from these high spending delegates," Mr Kitto said.

"Business events deliver significant benefits to the SA economy. They also leave an economic tail for the state through knowledge transfer, business and research collaborations and attracting talent to our innovation districts and growth industries.

"Business Events Adelaide has been working diligently with its members and the SA Government to position SA as the best place in Australia to hold a business event. Through this work the sector looks forward to a busy 2023, it could be potentially a record year for business events."

CEO Australian Hotels Association SA, Ian Horne said today’s results are yet another great sign for tourism and hospitality businesses in South Australia.

"Business confidence is high, and investment is happening throughout the sector," Mr Horne said.

"All indications are, based on the last quarter of last year that 2023 will be bonanza year for tourism – potentially even record breaking. We have so many events to look forward to which fill our hotel rooms, pubs and restaurants."

Africola chef and owner, Duncan Welgemoed said October had a huge upswing of interstate and international guests with spend per head increasing.

"Our best October on record – the East End was buzzing, and we are looking forward to even more in 2023," Mr Welgemoed said.