25 Sep 2020

Industry Update - SA welcomes first NSW flight and Oval Hotel opens

Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young with SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex, addressing media to welcome the first flight to SA from NSW
Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young with SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex, addressing media to welcome the first flight to SA from NSW

Good afternoon,

It is been an exciting couple of days for South Australian tourism, with our second largest domestic market now ‘open for business’ and Australia’s first hotel in a major sporting stadium booked out on its opening night.

The first flight from New South Wales to South Australia since border restrictions came into effect in mid-March, touched down into Adelaide yesterday. The Qantas flight was full, and I joined Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young to welcome the return of our once $779 million a year domestic market.

South Australia saw nearly 800,000 trips from NSW visitors in 2019 and it’s been incredibly pleasing to see airlines, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin, upping their weekly flight quota between Sydney and Adelaide, and that sales of these flights are skyrocketing. Between the three airlines, we’re set to be up to 35 flights per week soon, up from what was 15 a week.

As the South Australian Tourism Commission ups our marketing in the NSW market and attracts eyeballs on SA with media activations like today, we’re seeing the demand strong on southaustralia.com too. Clicks from NSW have more than doubled week on week, with almost 2,000 clicks generated from NSW in the last week compared with only around 800 the week prior.

Today, in what turned out to be wonderful timing, the stunning 138-room Adelaide Oval Hotel officially opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting by the Premier Steven Marshall. I attended the opening with SATC chair Andrew Bullock, and we had a chance to preview the stunning Oval Hotel and its views of the St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide parklands and city skyline.

The Oval Hotel featured in today's The Australian, ahead of its booked-out opening night, with Adam Vonthethoff, general manager of hospitality and portfolio development, saying he “could have filled the hotel three times over this weekend”. Sensational news for the Oval Hotel, for South Australian tourism, and for the recovery of our state.

With the September school holidays now upon us, Adelaide set to host its first NRL State of Origin match in November, and a season of summer cricket set to be announced, there’s never been a better time to see SA and for us to be welcoming back NSW travellers.

Following the success of our winter campaigns, See It to Believe It and Great State, which were positively received by industry and consumers, and had a positive impact on consumer intent, we’re about to launch our summer campaign. The summer campaign extends the same messaging, with a refresh of the products, experiences and regions featured so they are relevant to the warmer months. The new campaign will run across TV, outdoor, digital and social, and includes travel and media partnerships to help sell South Australia to locals and interstaters. With South Australia now open to all states and territories except Victoria, our state is well primed to take advantage of the pent-up travel demand among Australians.

Registrations for operators to participate in our Great State voucher scheme closed at 5pm today, and the team has been very working with operators who wanted to sign up. More than 240 operators are onboard already – from all over the state. We will share more details next month.

I look forward to seeing  increased business for SA tourism operators over the coming weeks, and I am heartened by the number of families and loved ones who are able to be reunited as border restrictions ease. I’m travelling to Coober Pedy next week for another of our Regional Visitor Strategy sessions, and I’m looking forward to heading north and seeing the outback after the decent rains we have had. I’m also hoping to see plenty of school holiday traffic on my way.

I will continue to keep you updated on our recovery plans, and have a great weekend.

Rodney Harrex
Chief executive

See the full Industry Update - 25 September 2020 here.