08 Dec 2022

Kangaroo Island takes leaps and bounds on international tourism recovery

Kangaroo Island is bounding back to the international drawcard it was prior to the pandemic, with two significant milestones today putting the region on the global map.

The first soil will be turned on the $20 million destination golf course, The Cliffs Kangaroo Island, while international tourists return by sea, with the arrival of the UK-flagged Cunard Queen Elizabeth into Penneshaw.

The sod turn signifies the official start of course construction on The Cliffs Kangaroo Island, which aims to be one of the world’s ‘bucket-list’ golf destinations, drawing 40,000 tourists to the island each year and generating an estimated additional $30 million in annual visitor expenditure.

The Cliffs Kangaroo Island ambassador, Wade Ormsby and world-renowned course designer Darius Oliver who is leading the design of the course, joined Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison and SATC chair Andrew Bullock at today’s ceremony.

The Pennington Cliffs Property Trust in partnership with the Pelligra Group will deliver the world-class project, adding to its wider investments on the island, which includes recently taking ownership of the popular Penneshaw Pub and bottle-shop, the Seafront Hotel and Sorrento’s Pizzeria in Penneshaw, the Seafront Holiday and Caravan Park in Penneshaw, and The Terraces in American River.

The first tee off at The Cliffs Kangaroo Island is expected to be in late 2024.

The third of seven calls by Cunard to South Australian ports this cruise season, the Queen Elizabeth visits Kangaroo Island on a round-trip of Australia out of Sydney, with more than 1,600 passengers and around 1,000 crew.

Passengers will disembark for onshore tours and experiences across the island, with visits to Seal Bay, Cape Willoughby, Flinders Chase National Park, and Kingscote, as well as local family businesses such as Island Beehive, Emu Bay Lavender Farm, Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari, and Dudley Wines. The local Penneshaw Markets will again operate at the oval for visitors arriving, showcasing the region’s produce.

It is one of 32 cruise ship visits to Kangaroo Island this season. Other Cunard ships to call into Penneshaw through until March 2023 include the world’s only ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2, with up to 2,691 passengers and 1,250 crew.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said it was wonderful to be in Kangaroo Island today, celebrating two milestones which will play a key role in recovering international visitation and growing the region’s visitor economy from its current value of $161 million to its 2025 target of $199 million.

“The Cliffs development adds another dimension to the tourism offering on Kangaroo Island, and will no doubt soon become a must-play for golfers far and wide. Importantly, thousands of out-of-state visitors expected to play The Cliffs, will inject valuable dollars into the island’s tourism sector and help share the story about this absolutely iconic location,” Minister Bettison said.

“As a sector worth $145 million to the state pre pandemic, the return of international cruise ships is hugely valuable. With 32 cruise ship visits to Kangaroo Island this season, it’s clear the region has remained a popular destination to visiting cruise lines, which bring tens of thousands of visitors to explore and spend with local businesses.”

The Cliffs Kangaroo Island CEO, Sam Atkins said the official soil turning ceremony signifies the start of something unbelievably unique and special for both Kangaroo Island and South Australia.

“The Cliffs Kangaroo Island will put South Australia on the map as a golfing destination and add to the already amazing experience of visiting Kangaroo Island,” Mr Atkins said.

“Seeing our passionate team join the Minister and guests today to mark the official start of construction fills me with pride and excitement for what’s to come for this exciting project.”

Cunard VP, Commercial for North America and Australasia, Matt Gleaves said it was exciting for two Cunard ships, Queen Elizabeth and flagship Queen Mary 2, to call to Kangaroo Island throughout Cunard’s 121-day Australia season.

“The natural rugged beauty, the unique wildlife and fantastic culinary offering of Kangaroo Island make our visits here some of the most popular for our guests,” Mr Gleaves said.

“The island’s unique natural attributes make it a prime destination for our ships to introduce guests to the local highlights via shore excursions, injecting valuable dollars into the local economy.

“Our iconic ships will make a total of seven South Australian port calls this homeport season equating to 15,700 guest visits, contributing upwards of $6.8 million dollars into South Australia’s state and regional economies.”