11 Aug 2022

Interstate tourism driving post-pandemic records

Oval Hotel, Adelaide
Oval Hotel, Adelaide

Tourism spending in South Australia has surged to near pre pandemic levels and Adelaide hotels have the highest forward booking occupancy in two and a half years.

In a clear sign that tourism is recovering, post-COVID record interstate spend helped drive South Australia’s visitor economy in May 2022 to 97 per cent of 2019 levels – on the back of the Easter high of 95 per cent in April 2022.

The latest National Visitor Survey data released today excludes international visitation which means total expenditure in May was likely to have exceeded pre COVID levels.

It comes as STR data shows Adelaide hotels have the highest forward booking occupancy since the pandemic began, buoyed by increased interstate and corporate travel, the return of events, and the upcoming October long weekend.

Latest statistics show:

  • The net position of South Australia’s visitor economy for May 2022 was 97 per cent of 2019 levels (excluding international visitation) – making it the third strongest relative performance since the pandemic began, behind May and December in 2021.
  • In May 2022, South Australia saw strong growth in interstate visitor expenditure – reaching a post-pandemic record-high of $315 million.
  • Intrastate visitor expenditure in May 2022 was $175 million, up 9 per cent up on pre COVID levels.
  • Forward booking occupancy for Adelaide accommodation over the next three months has hit a post-pandemic record – increasing to 43% average occupancy. The record result reflects increased consumer confidence to book ahead, the return of interstate and business travel and events, and the upcoming October long weekend and school holidays.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the data shows the state is tracking back to its once $8.1 billion visitor economy.

"To have the best result for interstate expenditure since the pandemic began is a wonderful indicator that recovery is on the right path," said Minister Bettison.

"Hotel forward bookings are the highest they’ve been in two and a half years and our visitor economy is 97 per cent of 2019 levels for May, after reaching 95 per cent in April when we had Easter and two consecutive long weekends.

"With increased consumer confidence to plan and book ahead, pent up travel demand, and the return of conferences and events, we’re in a solid position to continue to build on this momentum as we head into the traditionally busier periods of spring and summer."

Oval Hotel general manager, Ben Swanson said the Oval Hotel was designed as a natural extension of Adelaide Oval’s award-winning Functions & Events business and calendar of major events.

"The strength of that offering has been recognised by interstate guests who are arriving in droves to enjoy the benefits of a stadium hotel – whether they’re here for an AFL game, one of the many conferences hosted at Adelaide Oval or this month’s rugby double header," he said.

"With many significant international events on the horizon and back-to-back function bookings at Adelaide Oval, we’re looking forward to some busy months ahead."

Australian Hotels Association SA general manager, Ian Horne welcomed the new data.

"At the start of the year, we were hearing that people were delaying their holidays due to Omicron, so it is terrific to see that has now translated into a strong middle part of the year with post-pandemic record forward bookings and interstate expenditure as confidence to travel and book ahead continues to grow," he said.

"On the back of our winter festivals, and as we head towards other events like the Wallabies/Wallaroos double-header rugby test, Harvest Rock, OzAsia, the National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant, the VALO Adelaide 500 and the cricket Test Match later this year – as well as the conference season which is well and truly back – it’s very good news for the hotel sector and tourism generally."