11 May 2022

Regional SA meets and beats 2025 tourism targets

Jim Barry, Clare Valley
Jim Barry, Clare Valley

South Australia’s regions are exceeding their regional tourism targets set for 2025 – an impressive four years ahead of schedule.

Six of the state’s 11 tourism regions have surpassed their 2025 visitor expenditure target, helping drive total visitor expenditure in regional SA in 2021 to $3.6 Billion, just $400 million shy of its December 2025 target of $4.0 Billion.

The Eyre Peninsula has beaten its target by a whopping $91 million while Clare Valley and Kangaroo Island have exceeded their respective 2025 targets by $40 million.

The targets are set as part of the South Australian Regional Visitor Strategy 2025, which includes priority action areas identified by the state’s 11 tourism regions after extensive consultation with more than 800 stakeholders. It is a strategy by the regions, for the regions.

The 2025 Strategy is the second iteration, after the 2020 plan was released in May 2018 which saw the then regional tourism target of $3.55 billion by December 2020 met and exceeded more than one year early.

Despite the severe disruption of the global COVID-19 pandemic, regional tourism performance has remained strong. Over the two years of 2020 and 2021, regional visitation was just five percentage points behind pre-COVID levels, and for much of 2021, performance was at a record-high with seven consecutive months of record-breaking accommodation occupancy rates.

Regional tourism now makes up 60 per cent of South Australia’s total visitor expenditure – up from 44 per cent at the end of 2019.

The South Australian Regional Visitor Strategy 2025 aligns with the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030, which sets a target for total visitor expenditure in SA of $12.8 billion.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said "regional tourism is driving the recovery of our visitor economy, with 60 cents of every dollar spent on tourism in our state, spent in regional South Australia. This is up from 44 cents in 2019. This is a real testament to the innovation and dedication of operators and industry."

"Through working together, investing in new tourism product and experiences, and finding new ways to attract domestic visitors who will stay longer and spend more – the South Australian Regional Visitor Strategy is helping drive outcomes," she said.

"It is not only making a huge contribution to the state’s economy, but it is boosting the vibrancy and social fabric of our regional communities."

Regional Visitor Strategy steering committee chair Helen Edwards said "the Regional Visitor Strategy has been our roadmap for navigating the challenges of the past two years and will drive our ongoing success."

"These progress snapshots demonstrate the incredible outcomes we’ve been able to achieve for regional SA," she said.

"Regions are now meeting and exceeding their tourism targets set for 2025 despite the impacts of drought, bushfire and the ongoing pandemic. There has been outstanding collaboration across regions, involving state, local and federal governments, regional tourism bodies and importantly, hundreds of operators.

"With priority areas such as marketing and experience and supply development, regional businesses have been supported to grow their tourism offerings and retain and create jobs, despite the severe disruption of the pandemic."