06 Mar 2021

South Australia, a multi-million-dollar favourite this Cup long weekend

Fino Vino restaurant owners Sharon Romeo and David Swain
Fino Vino restaurant owners Sharon Romeo and David Swain

South Australia’s summer festival season is in full swing and Adelaide is abuzz as CBD accommodation and restaurants book out at levels not seen since pre pandemic, and regions yet again reach new record occupancy levels.

The latest South Australian Tourism Commission statistics show that over the three days of the Adelaide Cup long weekend, at least $50 million will be injected into the state’s economy, thanks to record occupancy levels boosted by the Great State Voucher program and festivals like Fringe, Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide.

Hotel and restaurant operators are reporting strong forward bookings during this month, as South Australians and an increasing number of interstate visitors make the most of ‘dinner, a show and a hotel night’.

Latest figures provided by STR show:

  • Adelaide accommodation occupancy reached its highest since the start of the pandemic last week, with 82.1 per cent occupancy on Friday 26 February, an increase on the recent post-pandemic record-high of 81.6 per cent on New Year’s Eve 2020. Saturday night was strong at 80 per cent, despite Saturdays being excluded from the voucher program.
  • Adelaide has, and is projected to have, the highest occupancy through to the end of March of any Australian capital city.
  • Occupancy in regional South Australia in January 2021 reached 64 per cent – the highest January on record, and an increase on the recent record-break in December 2020 (60 per cent).

Premier Steven Marshall said the latest data proves the tourism stimulus is doing exactly what it set out to do and the city’s festivals are continuing to draw strong crowds.

“Tourism in South Australia is tracking very much in the right direction, incredibly strong, despite the enormous challenges of the past 12 months,” Premier Marshall said.

“Strong bookings for hotels and restaurants and a flourishing festival season mean more jobs across our state and shows the world what a sensational place this is to do business.”

“This data and projected $50 million injection into the visitor economy this long weekend, shows that the work we are doing to get events back up and running and to stimulate the economy through the Great State Voucher scheme is making a real difference for our local tourism industry.”

Sarah Goldfinch, general manager of Crowne Plaza Adelaide – one of the hotels participating in the Great State Voucher scheme – said March in particular had seen bookings go through the roof.

“We have enjoyed particularly strong demand on the weekends thanks to local events such as Fringe and of course the support of the Great State Voucher campaign.

Weekends this March are completely booked out. We are very fortunate to have the incredible support from locals, as well as more recently interstate guests as borders start to reopen,” she said.

Restaurants and bars in the CBD are also enjoying the festival atmosphere of March, with operators reporting a booking boom from city-revellers.

Celebrated for the award-winning Fino at Seppeltsfield, part of the Seppeltsfield Estate, Fino Vino is the latest from owner and executive chef David Swain and owner and restaurant manager Sharon Romeo – and is one of those well-placed for festival season.

Ms Romeo said their Flinders Street restaurant has seen a surge in bookings in the lead-up to the long weekend and some of Adelaide’s iconic events.

“Over the last few days, bookings have flooded in for lunches and dinners at our Fino Vino restaurant and we’re almost full this weekend. We’re seeing lots of people making a booking with a show, lots of the Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide crowd, and it’s also been great to see more locals bringing their interstate friends in to dine with them,” she said.

“Fino at Seppeltsfield is just flying, we’ve really noticed so many more intrastate visitors are coming in, not just into the restaurant but also to the cellar door.”