24 Jul 2020

Industry Update - Border Tightens to VIC, Caps on Private Gatherings, TAS Re-Open Date


Good afternoon,

It’s been another busy week for everyone involved in South Australian tourism as we continue to work together to rebuild our sector.

It’s clear that all states remain on high alert about the situation in Victoria and watch closely on that of New South Wales. Today, the Premier Steven Marshall announced a tightening of South Australia’s border with Victoria, and the re-introduction of caps on private gatherings in our state (specifically, for home gatherings, funerals and weddings).

From midnight Tuesday, the “hard border arrangement” with Victoria will be further tightened; South Australians will no longer be able to return to SA from Victoria. Only essential travellers will be able to enter SA from Victoria. Border restrictions for NSW and the ACT will remain unchanged and no date has been set for any lifting.

The rationale for these measures is to protect the South Australian community and the economy and help ensure we can continue to stand up as many businesses here in our state. While we remain cautious on activities interstate, it is very pleasing to see South Australians are adhering to the health advice, and that we can continue to move around freely, continue to travel across the regions, and even start to attend larger sporting and events where COVID plans are in place.

This weekend we see another major test for our COVID management plans with two AFL games being held at Adelaide Oval, and one of our first regional events with the Winter Reds festival kicking off today until Sunday in the Adelaide Hills. This is a significant step forward as we get our economy up and running again, and I hope that everyone continues to do the right thing and follow the proper physical distancing and hygiene requirements. This week we also hit 5,000 who've now completed our COVID Awareness Training, which is very proactive and positive news from our tourism and hospitality sector.

As for our events and festivals sector, this week we announced the 2020/21 funding for 32 regional events under our Regional Event and Festivals Program. A total of $369,000 is being invested in regional communities, which I believe will be a big boost in their post-COVID recovery and will help enormously with forward planning.

Also announced today, Tasmania will have “safe travel bubbles”, reopening its borders to SA, WA and NT on 7 August. This means we will soon have a reciprocal border with Tasmania, and we look forward to seeing this encourage visitation from this market.  

With last week’s opening to the Northern Territory, we have already seen and heard of many travellers making the most of eased restrictions.  There are already plenty of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian number plates on the roads – a sign that the self-drive market is up and about, and that is great news for the state’s tourism recovery.  

Our new marketing campaigns kicked off on Monday, targeting both South Australians as well as those interstate markets that are open to us. For those who missed them, have a look at our new intra and interstate marketing campaigns. It’s important to note that we are focusing on the brand of South Australia, so while not every region may be identifiable in the ads, we are certainly working with each region to ensure they are recognised in some way in our other activities, via our digital platforms, through television partnerships and through our “Always on” campaign. The success of the campaigns to date has driven record traffic to our website southaustralia.com, where people go looking for things to see and do in our state. 

We’re also working on our ongoing global trade engagement strategy through a dedicated webinar series for domestic trade. So far, six individual regions have been showcased along with an overview of SA and road trip presentations. Each week local tourism representatives from each region discuss what is available for the trade to sell and discuss commissionable products. To date, 1,300 agents have attended, and the webinars are also repeated in Mandarin. This is another way the agency is helping our $7.8 billion sector recover and rebuild.

I am continuing my regional visits with the SATC Chair Andrew Bullock, this week meeting operators in the Barossa and the Clare Valley. It was terrific to catch up with the teams at Lyndoch Hill HotelSeppeltsfieldKingsford HomesteadThe LouiseWatervale HotelJim Barry WinesBungaree Station, and Bukirk Glamping, to name a few. It’s been wonderful to hear that bookings are picking up, as people get in their cars and get out to explore. I am going to the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong next week, so am looking forward to a busy couple of days in the region.

We are also planning our visits to regions in September as part of the 2025 Regional Visitor Strategy. As many of you would know, we had planned to do these engagement sessions earlier this year, before COVID-19 basically shut down all face-to-face visits. I look forward to sharing more of my plans with you on these shortly, as we revise our 2025 strategic plan.

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Harrex
Chief Executive

See the full industry update - 24 July here