23 Feb 2022

Festival season strong start, hotel bookings up, Oz borders open & more...

Festival season has kicked off in Adelaide, our Great State Vouchers are boosting bookings for overnight stays, Kangaroo Island has celebrated some huge milestones, and international borders have reopened – another big week for tourism.

With Fringe opening over the weekend, timed with the travel period kicking off for the Great State Accommodation Vouchers, it’s been great to see more people in the CBD.

We’ve already seen tens of thousands of bookings made through round seven of our voucher scheme and reports from the Fringe that ticket sales are booming, up on last year and patrons enjoying the chance to get out and about.

Adelaide hotel accommodation data shows that forward booking occupancy rates have risen, and the vouchers will only drive this further. For me, it is a sign that we are very much heading in the right direction, and I am hopeful the hustle and bustle of Fringe season really kicks the year off strongly for our tourism sector.

Last week I spent time in Kangaroo Island, celebrating the sod turn of the $50 million Southern Ocean Lodge rebuild and unveiling of the $3 million redevelopment of Kangaroo Island Spirits, as well as doing some site visits, talking to operators and dropping into the Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival.

Seeing the start of SOL 2.0 was quite a moment – after being destroyed by the 2020 bushfire, it is a huge accomplishment by James and Hayley of Baillie Lodges and by the many staff and volunteers committed to the rebuild. The plans are remarkable, and I look forward to it being a must-visit on the island once again.

The KI Spirits expansion was supported by a $500,000 Tourism Industry Development Fund grant and will enable KIS to increase production, add new product, host masterclasses and events, and create local jobs.

With the COVID Ready Committee due to meet again tomorrow, it is expected that restrictions may ease in SA, with agenda items including allowing dancing at events such as weddings, and Adelaide Oval crowd numbers.

Great to see the Adelaide Hills region named one of Australia’s top tourist destinations by consumers using hotel booking site, Wotif. In the awards, Mount Lofty House was listed as Wotif’s ‘accommodation tip’.

Our friends at the City of Adelaide through the Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA) opened the ballot for 25,000 dining vouchers today, as part of an initiative to drive visitation into the CBD. There are some incredible restaurants signed up to the scheme – so make sure you register.

Read on for details and other updates.

Rodney Harrex
Chief Executive


Business support grants for February

A further round of Business Hardship Grants is available for businesses impacted by health restrictions in place since 27 December 2021.

The February round of Business Hardship Grants provide a grant of up to $11,000 for South Australian businesses that experience a 50% or more decline in turnover in the month of February 2022 compared to an equivalent reference period, due to the impact of COVID-19.

All eligible businesses must submit an application for this grant. Applications will open soon. 

More information


Australia reopens to the world

The first international tourists to South Australia in nearly two years landed on Monday – a market worth more than $1.2 billion pre COVID.

Like the return of domestic travellers, it’s expected the initial run of bookings will be mostly from ‘visiting friends and relatives’ (VFR) market – but as consumer confidence grows, demand will grow in other markets like leisure and business.

SA’s partner travel agents in key markets like the UK say they have been inundated with booking enquiries from people eager to reunite with friends and family.

Throughout the pandemic, the SATC has been working to keep South Australia top of mind in our key global markets, like the UK, the US, Singapore and New Zealand, and we're now working to convert these international tourists from thinking about SA, to travelling here.

We’ve also continued working with airlines – including Qatar and Singapore Airlines – to ensure that Adelaide routes can quickly grow in line with demand.

Kangaroo Island hops to a strong start for 2022

Kangaroo Island has delivered a double shot for SA’s tourism sector with two significant announcements signalling a strong start to 2022.

The first sod was turned on the $50 million re-envisaged Southern Ocean Lodge and the $3 million redevelopment of Kangaroo Island Spirits was opened last week, highlighting an optimistic future for one of South Australia’s most loved holiday destinations.

Southern Ocean Lodge was destroyed by the bushfires in January 2020, with the team from Baillie Lodges committing immediately to rebuild, recover and reinvigorate the eye-catching cliff top property.

KI Spirits received $500,000 last year through the SATC’s Tourism Industry Development Fund – a $20 million fund designed to stimulate growth and diversity across the state’s tourism regions. 

With tourism worth over $270 million to Kangaroo Island and borders open to domestic and international tourists, it is an exciting time for the region and for SA's wider visitor economy.

See details

Free marketing and PR sessions for operators

Throughout the year, we host a number of ATDW and digital marketing information sessions to help operators promote their businesses online.

Join us for a dedicated digital marketing & PR workshop. Having a well written, high quality ATDW listing which has considered the consumer journey, will help promote your business far and wide. 

We’ll also take a look at digital marketing activity, take a deep dive into PR best practice, and discuss how to engage with SATC's famil program and press office activity.

Kingscote, Kangaroo Island – 16 March, 1-4pm

Semaphore, Adelaide – 23 March, 2.30-5pm 

Register now

Dining vouchers to boost city operators

South Australians can enter the ballot for one of 25,000 vouchers for dining at a huge range of Adelaide cafes, restaurants and eateries.

Delivered by the Adelaide Economic Development Agency (AEDA) they aim to entice visitors back into the city and drive expenditure for participating hospitality businesses across the city and North Adelaide.

The ballot is open until 7 March and redemption from 21 March – 1 June 2022. Terms and conditions apply.

Enter ballot 

See the Industry Update – 23 February 2022.