16 Mar 2022

Festival boost, cruise green light, new campaign targets Kiwis & more...

A massive festival and long weekend boost, cruise ships given green light, New Zealand brings forward two-way travel, and rave reviews for the Adelaide Fringe centrepiece – just some of what’s happening in our industry this week.

As the Fringe, Adelaide Festival, Writer’s Week and WOMADelaide enticed punters to our city, new data released on Friday shows tourism recovery is surpassing forecasts.

It shows forward bookings for Adelaide hotels have hit a post-pandemic record high and domestic visitor spending across the state has topped pre-COVID levels.

Data from Tourism Research Australia reveals that spending by domestic tourists in South Australia in December was at 98 per cent of that spent by all tourists to SA (including internationals) pre-COVID.

Forward bookings for Adelaide hotels for the next three months are at their highest since the pandemic began, and the first weekend of March saw average occupancy for CBD hotels of 85 per cent.

This is sensational news for our city and our state, and it’s wonderful to see our Great State Vouchers boosting bookings for business – our accommodation round generating the most in any one round, at nearly 60,000.

With international cruise ships given the green light from the Federal Government, we’re ramping up our work to recover this valuable sector and plan for the 2022-23 cruise season.

Pre COVID, cruise was worth $145 million to the state – we had 80 cruise ship visits and welcomed more than 182,000 passengers and crew.

News out of New Zealand today that their date for two-way travel will be brought forward is a positive step forward as we recover international tourism and is well-timed, after just launching our new campaign ‘Sometimes I wonder’ to attract Kiwis to SA.

Sky Song – the centrepiece of this year’s Fringe – has been lighting up the sky over the McLaren Vale since Friday. On until 20 March, the show has been receiving glowing reviews and I was pleased to check it out over the weekend.

Read on for more.

Rodney Harrex
Chief Executive

Sky Song - centrepiece of Adelaide Fringe
Sky Song - centrepiece of Adelaide Fringe

Visitor spending in South Australia surpasses forecasts

As interstate visitors have flocked to the city’s world-renowned festivals and Great State Vouchers boost bookings – the March long weekend was estimated to pump almost $100 million into our visitor economy.

New data released on Friday shows that spending by domestic tourists in SA in December 2021 was higher than pre-pandemic spending. At $612 million, it was up 27 per cent on December 2020 and up 11 per cent on December 2019.

Round seven of the Great State Voucher program generated nearly 60,000 bookings for accommodation across SA – the highest number of bookings created in any one round of the scheme to date.

With vouchers in circulation, the weekend of 4 & 5 March saw average occupancy for CBD hotels of 85 per cent, creating revenue of $3.5 million – the second highest revenue for a weekend since the pandemic began.

See details

Register now – global markets industry webinar

Tourism operators and industry stakeholders are invited to join a free webinar with the South Australian Tourism Commission’s global team.

Get an update on market trends, SATC’s target markets, trade landscape and consumer sentiment. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

Register now

New campaign enticing New Zealand travellers

A new marketing campaign launched into New Zealand this week aims to attract Kiwis to the unique experiences in South Australia.

SATC research shows that NZ travellers are looking for new and different travel experiences, and SA is in a prime position to deliver on this.

The campaign specifically targets Kiwis and works with our NZ trade partners. It is well-timed as New Zealand sets a date to re-open to two-way travel – more than 12 weeks earlier than expected, at 12 April.

Air New Zealand will re-commence non-stop services between Auckland and Adelaide from 6 July 2022.

See media release

Cruise ships ban to end April 17

Great news for the cruise sector, with confirmation that the Australian Government will not extend the ban on international cruise ships arriving and departing from Australian ports.

The ban currently expires on April 17, after it was introduced in March 2020.

International cruise ships will still need to meet all state and territory public health requirements of the jurisdiction into which they berth.

Cruise industry mandates – including requiring passengers be vaccinated, appropriate operating and outbreak management plans, and COVID-19 safety plans – will also help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission aboard cruise ships.

Nature-based tourism boost

Four new regional nature-based tourism experiences are being supported under the Department for Environment and Water’s Nature-based Tourism Co-investment Fund.

Eyre Peninsula based Kata & Belle received a grant for two new glamping safari tents and a flexible space for accommodation or events at Donington Beach in Lincoln National Park.

Yorke Peninsula based Big Heart Adventures received a grant for a new vehicle and trailer to support a new cultural walking tour of Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park led by Traditional Owners.

The Fund is open until June 2022 or until funds are exhausted.

More information


See the Industry Update – 16 March 2022.