09 Jun 2023

Mad March results to celebrate

Mad March has proved extraordinary for South Australia's tourism industry, with the festival month clocking the highest increase on 2019 levels since the start of the pandemic.

New data released today shows visitor spend in South Australia in March 2023 was 134 per cent of the same month in 2019, thanks to major events like the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide driving a surge in domestic spend.

At $906 million in total visitor expenditure in March 2023, it is the third-highest month on record. It follows the $930 million spent in October 2022 and the all-time high of $940 million spent in January 2023.

New National Visitor Survey data for March 2023 released today shows:

  • Total visitor expenditure in South Australia for the month of March 2023 was $906 million. This is 134 per cent of March 2019 ($677m) – making it the strongest monthly comparison growth since the start of the pandemic.
  • Intrastate overnight spend was $303 million – up 52 per cent on March 2019.
  • Interstate spend was $324 million – up 32 per cent on March 2019.
  • Domestic day trip spend was $209 million – up 57 per cent on March 2019.

The new figures come after March 2023 recorded the strongest month ever for Adelaide accommodation occupancy, with an average of 8,376 room nights booked each night of the month.

March 2023 also holds the top two spots for room nights occupied to date, with the Saturday of the March long weekend and WOMADelaide as well as the Tuesday of the Ed Sheeran concert during the same week holding the number two and number one spots respectively for most hotel rooms sold across Adelaide of all time.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the result was “a brilliant result for our state’s tourism industry”.

“We’ve already heard how this year’s festival season was a huge hit – with the Fringe having sold one million tickets for the first time and WOMADelaide tickets selling out in record time,” she said.

“And now, as we celebrate the third highest monthly spend of all time, we have further confirmation of just how fantastic our festival season was – which of course, only continued on into our Awesome April and Magic May.”

Outgoing General Manager, Australian Hotels Association|SA Ian Horne said the strong start of the year was great news for the state’s hospitality sector.

“We’ve seen an incredibly strong start to the year, on the back of our amazing events and festival portfolio,” he said.

“Hotels were absolutely packed and everything I heard was that it was terrific to have interstate and international visitors back in the city, and back spending in our cafes, restaurants and bars. The vibe was enormously positive – and after a few very tough years for the sector, it was a long cold drink long overdue.”

Chairman of the Maras Group Theo Maras said the big events month had helped drive a significant visitor spend.

“It is without doubt the most successful month-long series of events in Australia, which captures the imagination of all the public, and we had overwhelming support. The spend by the public who supported Mad March was over $900 million, and the continuing spend is unprecedented at a much-needed time as an economic booster,” he said.