16 Mar 2021

Experience the Great State – third round of vouchers to launch

Helivista, McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula. Image credit: Duy Dash
Helivista, McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula. Image credit: Duy Dash

A third round of travel vouchers worth up to $200 will target hosted tours and experiences across South Australia – helping create jobs and boost a sector hit hard by the downturn in international and interstate visitation.

It follows rounds one and two of the Great State Voucher program, which created over 62,000 room night bookings and a flow-on spending of more than $32 million into the state’s visitor economy.

The ‘Great State Experiences Voucher’ scheme will provide $50, $100 and $200 vouchers for use on participating hosted tours and experiences across our Great State

Around 500 operators are expected to register their experiences, from shark-cage diving and swimming with sealions, to helicopter and mountain bike tours, guided food and wine trails, and hosted wildlife experiences.

Premier Steven Marshall has today announced the stimulus for tour and experience operators, which he said will give them a kick-start once JobKeeper ends.

“We know the first two voucher rounds injected more than $32 million into the state’s visitor economy, getting people out and spending on hospitality across SA and resurrecting tourism in our state,” Premier Marshall said.

“Expanding the scheme to direct cash-flow into South Australian tour and experience businesses following the busy Easter period and after the JobKeeper subsidy ends is the right support at the right time.

“We’ve listened to industry and business owners across SA, and this latest round of vouchers will see locals spending up on tours and experiences which they ordinarily might have overlooked while holidaying at home.

Like round two of the vouchers, a limited number of the Great State Experiences Vouchers will be available for some interstate tourists.

The Great State Experiences Voucher will launch after the peak tourism Easter and April school holiday period, for travel over the cooler months, bookable seven days a week including Saturdays and the July school holidays to boost the traditionally quieter winter months.

A new process for obtaining a voucher will ensure a fair and equitable distribution. More details will be released for consumers following the completion of an Expressions of Interest for operators to participate. 

“We know tour and experience operators have seen a downturn in business that is not restricted to mid-week like accommodation providers, so this round of vouchers can be used for the entire travel period and includes the July school holidays, which means South Australian families can make the very most of experiencing their great state,” Premier Marshall said.

EscapeGoat Adventures - which operates mountain bike tours out of the Adelaide Hills will see day-trip tours back on its calendar, after having almost evaporated when borders closed.

Owner/ operator of EscapeGoat Adventures Deborah Fehler said the experience vouchers will be a “massive bonus” to their family-owned business.

“Our day-trip tours are normally our bread and butter, made up almost entirely of international and interstate tourists. We’ve seen some tours slowly start to be rebooked thanks to interstate reopening, but for most of the last year we have had to focus mainly on our bike hire and mountain bike skills training side of our business,” said Ms Fehler.

“This round of vouchers means we can show locals why a day-trip tour is worth their while, taking them to sights that they may not know about, like Onkaparinga Gorge in the McLaren Vale; and we plan to put on some extra multi-day tours of the Flinders Ranges and Outback, which we wouldn’t have run again until at least September. The vouchers mean we can get some much-needed extra business, during what we expected to be a very quiet start to the winter.”

Managing Director of The Glass Half Full Tours Michael Errey said the voucher system is a chance to show South Australians the value of using a tour operator, after a challenging 12 months for his luxury food and wine experience business.

“Without international tourists and with the uncertainty around interstate, we’re down significantly on the previous year and we’ve had to work hard to rebuild existing markets and develop new markets,” Mr Errey said.

“People can always drive themselves to SA’s wine regions, but we can take them to meet the special characters behind the scenes and to places off the beaten track. It’s about showcasing the difference between heading out with a tourist map and heading out with a tour operator – and traditionally, it’s only people visiting the state who would consider having a guide and would get to experience the value in a fully-organised, tailored tour. These vouchers will help push locals to book with us and once they experience it, no doubt they’ll join our loyal base of locals and be back to book their next tour.”

Owner/operator of Helivista Paul Beck said the vouchers will allow the luxury helicopter tour company to grow its local market base.

“Without the high-yield international tourists, business has been tough. We’ve spent the downtime finding ways to diversify which has included building offerings with other like-minded businesses. We also launched a Heli Fly-Thru lunch in conjunction with Penny's Hill and The Currant Shed,” Mr Beck said.

“The experience vouchers are a very welcome initiative and will give us a chance to showcase what we do and show domestic visitors holiday options at home, while borders are closed.”

Sandra Markos from Gorge Wildlife Park said the park is “doing okay” during school holidays and on weekends, however during the week and the experiences such as koala holding are particularly quiet without the usual international visitation.

“The vouchers will give locals a reason to book an experience while visiting the Park, beyond simply buying admission and will hopefully boost mid-week visitation and the quieter colder months.”

For more information: https://southaustralia.com/voucher