08 Jul 2021

Borders ease, events ramp up, tourism support continues


Positive changes to South Australia’s border restrictions today, with Western Australia and the Northern Territory re-opening, and an easing of restrictions for parts of Queensland.


Travellers from WA and the NT can now enter SA, with ‘level three’ restrictions (testing on days one, five and 13) for the next few days. As of this Sunday, those testing requirements will be removed.


In announcing the easing of borders to specific local government areas of Queensland, the Premier Steven Marshall said the state is adopting a “nuanced risk-based stance”.


SA’s border remains closed to the Queensland local government areas of: Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gold Coast, Logan, Redlands, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, and Somerset.


Travellers from Townsville and those who attended the Big Red Bash at Birdsville can now enter SA (with ‘level three’ testing requirements as above) and there are no restrictions for the rest of Queensland.


SA remains closed to the ACT and NSW. The Premier said he would like to see border restrictions ease between ACT and SA, but because of concerns related to the Delta variant, that hard border will remain in place for now.


It is clear the situation in NSW remains volatile and this is having its impact on many state borders and on travel confidence. Please refer to the SA COVID-19 information website for all updates.


The South Australian Tourism Commission continues to do everything we can to support our state’s visitor economy and the thousands of people it employs.


We know from the data that regional tourism has been showing strong signs of recovery, with six consecutive months of record-high room nights stayed – from December to May. We also know that while there have been incredible wins to celebrate, there are sections of the industry that continue to struggle.


The year-ending March 2021 National Visitor Survey (NVS) results have been released, providing a summary of 12 months of the pandemic – the first time we have a full 12 months period covering the global pandemic and we expected this to be one of the worst snapshots. However, it is important to note that while tourism remains suppressed overall, driven by the loss of international visitors and the partial loss of the interstate market, there are signs of strong growth. More monthly NVS data for April is due out tomorrow, Friday 9 July.


The monthly results for March 2021, show that total visitor expenditure in our state reached 93 per cent of that in March 2019 – almost making up the gap left by international tourists. And for regional tourism, the first quarter of 2021 was the best quarter ever recorded, with April hitting the highest number of room nights occupied in regional SA and the highest revenue of any April on record, at 122,500 room nights occupied and $19.4 million in takings.


As we have done all through the pandemic, the SATC continues to work hard to support the sector and to direct that support to areas where it is most-needed and will be most effective.


Please read on for a summary of what the SATC is doing to support our state’s tourism sector.

Rodney Harrex
Chief Executive

Great State Vouchers record-high redemption

The Great State Voucher program continues to prove it is an effective tourism stimulus which creates an incredible return on investment. With bookings for the fourth round of vouchers wrapping up last week, we saw a record-high redemption.

More than 34,000 room night bookings were made across SA, bringing the total economic impact of the scheme to date to an estimated $64.7 million. These are sensational outcomes for SA’s tourism sector – getting people booking holidays they ordinarily might not have taken, injecting people and much-needed dollars into businesses across the state. Thank you to all participating operators for your efforts in being involved in the program.

Re-Book in SA – an immediate response to need

Our recently launched ‘Re-Book in SA’ Facebook group has been connecting consumers with lost interstate travel plans to tourism operators hit by mass cancellations. With many tourism businesses reeling from mass border closures and a sudden surge of availability, we launched the site as an immediate ‘quick-fix’, focused on filling bookings for the July school holidays.

Operators like Bukirk Glamping in the Clare Valley, Lucent Art House in the Adelaide Hills, Murray River Trails in the Riverland, and Adventure Bay Charters in Eyre Peninsula, have all listed on the site and are benefiting from the extra exposure and appetite from locals to book an SA getaway.

Visit Re-Book in SA at: facebook.com/groups/rebookinsa

Tasting Australia on now and back in 2022

Australia’s favourite eating and drinking festival, Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel is back in 2022, for its 16th edition. For 10 days from 29 April to 8 May, festivalgoers will enjoy unique experiences which build on our state’s reputation as one of the nation’s best culinary destinations. It’s all about supporting SA’s world-class food and beverage industry, and giving more people more reasons to get out across the CBD and regional SA and drive the recovery of our visitor economy.

We know Tasting Australia earlier this year saw over 53,000 people through the gates of Town Square in the CBD, and over 90 events sold out across SA.

For all of this month, the Tasting Australia Winter Series is on and offers more than 40 events across SA including ‘Taste of the Winter Eyre’ in Ceduna in the EP, ‘Fire and Feast’ at Lou’s Place in the Barossa, and ‘Vegan Palooza’ in Adelaide.

Book now at: tastingaustralia.com.au


Illuminate shines a light across SA

Our state’s new annual major event, Illuminate Adelaide, is lighting up even more of the city and the regions. Having recently wrapped up the first of three regional activations of Illuminate Adelaide last week in the Limestone Coast, there is more to come tonight when Light Creatures at the Adelaide Zoo opens tonight.

It follows Van Gogh Alive opening to the public last week, and around 10,000 visitors flocking to Mount Gambier over the four-weeks of ‘Digital Garden’ in the state’s south-east.

We recently announced details of Illuminate activations in the Eyre Peninsula and the Riverland, with Tumby Bay’s iconic street art to light up from 13-21 August in collaboration with Colour Tumby Bay Street Art festival organisers, and the Murray River in Renmark to see stunning projections over the water and riverbanks from 17 September to 9 October.

Light Creatures is on until 1 August. Illuminate Adelaide officially kicks off on Friday 16 July.

Full program details: illuminateadelaide.com

More highlights in brief 

Our $20 million Tourism Industry Development Fund continues to support regional tourism operators to upgrade, expand and diversify. A total of 53 projects spread across all 11 of SA’s tourism regions have been supported through the fund, with a combined project value of more than $31.6 million and grant total of $8.3 million. See the full list of successful applicants and how to apply, here.

An extra $1 million directed to regional event funding will support more events in 2021-22, helping attract more visitors and more spending in regional economies. Stay tuned for an announcement of round one Regional Event Fund supported events later this month.

Our marketing campaigns, voucher schemes and a surge in domestic interest in SA saw a record 12.9 million visits to our state’s key tourism portal, southaustralia.com in the last 12 months (20-21 FY). Of these visits, we recorded over 3.3 million direct leads to South Australian tourism operators and events for the same period – more than tripling the previous record set, at 1 million leads in 2019/20. More here.


Read the full Industry Update – 8 July 2021 here.