24 Jan 2021

Regional hotel bookings off the charts

South Australia’s tourism sector is having a summer to remember, with regions breaking pre-COVID records, and some city accommodation properties having a three-fold increase in bookings immediately following the second round of Great State Vouchers.

In the lead-up to the long weekend, latest data from the South Australian Tourism Commission shows that South Australians are continuing to support local operators at unprecedented levels.

  • Both city and regional accommodation occupancy recorded sharp spikes for December 2020, with both matching – or beating – bookings for the same period in 2019, pre COVID and pre Black Summer bushfires.
  • Figures provided by STR Global for December 2020 show occupancy in regional South Australia reached 60 per cent – the highest December on record, and an increase on December 2019 (55 per cent).
  • Room nights in regions were also the highest on record for December, reaching 114,000, up 8 per cent on the previous year (106,000).
  • Adelaide hotels recorded 82 per cent occupancy on New Year’s Eve 2020 – the highest since the pandemic began. The following day saw another symbolic record fall, with New Year’s Day 2021 having a higher occupancy than New Year’s Day 2020 (78 per cent and 72 per cent respectively).

Premier Steven Marshall said the latest data proves the Government’s support of the sector is working.

“A strong tourism sector means more jobs across our entire state,” Premier Marshall said.

“Despite the enormous challenges the South Australian tourism sector has faced over the past 12 months, they have weathered the storm in a remarkable fashion.

“Thank you to each and every South Australian who has gone out to support our regional tourism areas in particular – it’s incredible to see records being smashed in this vital area for our State, while the CBD is also seeing a real recovery.

“This data shows that the work we are doing to promote our regions, the Great State Voucher campaigns and the support we’ve provided through our $10,000 small business grants are making a huge difference for our local tourism sector.”

South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said the result is outstanding.

“South Australia’s tourism operators are incredibly resilient having faced bushfires, drought and a global pandemic,” Mr Harrex said.

“Despite all these challenges, the regional hotel booking data for December 2020 has not just broken COVID recovery records, but all-time records as well.

“Thank you to all South Australians out there who are doing their bit for our visitor economy and holidaying at home. Thank you for travelling out to our beautiful regions and spending your hard-earned dollars with local businesses. It means so much to our operators and to the lifeblood of our communities.”

The momentum has carried into January 2021 with strong Adelaide hotel occupancy immediately after the launch of the second round of the Great State Vouchers on 5 January.

Forward bookings due to the voucher program have been incredibly strong, and data for the week following the launch of the Great State Vouchers saw almost triple the number of new bookings received by our hotels compared to the previous week. These bookings have stretched all the way through to the end of March, stimulating travellers to book well in advance and giving our hotels much needed cashflow.

Data for 8 January 2021 saw hotel occupancy at 75 per cent, up from 73 per cent for the same time last year.

Mr Harrex said more than 18,000 bookings had been made with Great State Vouchers and nearly 5000 rooms already checked-in to their stay.

“The response to the vouchers has been overwhelming with forward bookings strong right through to the end of March,” he said.

“I encourage everyone with a voucher who has not yet made a booking to get online, check out the great deals and book before 31 January. There are hundreds of deals right across South Australia and plenty of availability particularly for mid-week bookings, you really are spoilt for choice.”  

South Australians have until 11.59pm ACDT 31 January, 2021 to redeem their Great State Voucher for travel until 31 March, 2021. Book at southaustralia.com/voucher.