28 Mar 2021

Tourism boost for Mt Gambier as Qantas lands new flights

Tourism in the Limestone Coast will receive a major boost this week with the arrival of the first Qantas direct flight from Melbourne and news the region will be included in an expansion of Adelaide’s new winter major event.

The interstate flight – Melbourne-Mt Gambier-Adelaide – is the first time the national carrier has flown the leg.

South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said the first flight into Mt Gambier on Sunday, 28 March would be met with “a huge amount of optimism” by the region.

“Victoria is our largest interstate domestic overnight market, so these additional flights are going to be a great boost for local businesses in the South East, and further drive visitation to the Limestone Coast from Adelaide and Melbourne,” he said.

“I congratulate Qantas on further committing to the South Australian market, helping our visitor economy recover and supporting the work of the South Australian Tourism Commission. We continue to encourage both intrastate and interstate travel in order to get visitors back in the sky and out spending again across our state.”

Mr Harrex said the extra flights - following a $9.2 million upgrade of the Mt Gambier Airport, funded by local, state and federal governments - would significantly build confidence in the region’s tourism and business sectors.

“It’s terrific for the region that has been hit very hard by COVID restrictions, and also the bushfires just over a year ago. Before COVID, tourism in the Limestone Coast contributed $369 million and directly employed 2,100 people,” he said.

“Having additional services means that we can continue to grow visitation, rebuild the visitor economy and create more jobs.”

In another show of confidence, Mr Harrex confirmed that Mt Gambier would be included as part of the upcoming Illuminate Adelaide winter event – a new major annual event taking over Adelaide’s city streets, laneways and buildings from 16 July to 1 August.

“Ahead of the program launch, I am very pleased to confirm that – as part of the 2021 Illuminate Adelaide, there are also plans to light up South Australian regions with a series of installations featuring international, national and local artists across a five month period spanning from June to October 2021.

“And as we are here in Mount Gambier today talking about greater access to the region, it seems quite fitting that we can announce Mount Gambier is one of the regional sites to host an ‘Illuminate South Australia’ installation at the iconic Cave Garden during winter.”

Mr Harrex said more details would be announced next month following the launch of Illuminate Adelaide’s program highlights.

The region has also benefitted recently by the SATC’s Tourism Industry Development Fund – which has granted nearly $270,000 in funding to six Limestone Coast tourism businesses to help upgrade facilities as well as build new accommodation. The projects – with a combined value of $913,191 – are continuing to spur private investment in the region, to attract more visitors who will stay longer and spend more.