06 Apr 2023

Tourism sector in SA surpasses $8.1 billion pre-COVID record high as operators prepare for an egg-stra special easter holiday boost

South Australia’s tourism sector has hit another record – not only returning to its pre pandemic value but exceeding it to reach the state’s highest-ever 12-month tourism spend.

New data released this week by Tourism Research Australia shows visitor expenditure in South Australia in the 12 months to December 2022 hit $8.3 billion – a new all-time record for the state.

The new record high visitor spend means the value of tourism in South Australia has surpassed its pre-COVID high of $8.1 billion – something not forecast to happen until December 2023.

The milestone comes as tourism operators across the state prepare for an egg-stravagant Easter long weekend holiday surge, with data from the South Australian Tourism Commission showing an estimated $173 million will be spent by visitors over the next four days.

New data shows:

  • Total visitor expenditure in South Australia in the 12 months to December 2022 reached a record high $8.3 billion.
  • Tourism in South Australia has not only recovered its pre-COVID record high of $8.1 billion but has now surpassed it. This is 12 months ahead of what was forecast, with the SATC’s COVID tourism impact model showing the industry was not predicted to reach $8.1 billion until December 2023.
  • In the last six months (July to December 2022), the value of tourism in South Australia has grown from $6.2 billion to $8.3 billion – the sharpest increase over any six month period on record.
  • With Australia’s borders open for 10 months of 2022, international tourism has seen strong growth. International expenditure in the last quarter (October to December 2022) grew from $307 million to $519 million, well above the recovery forecast of $314 million.
  • Interstate tourism reached a record high of $3.2 billion spent in 2022. This is up $581 million on the previous record of $2.7 billion spent by interstate overnight visitors in 2019.
  • Intrastate tourism reached a record high $2.8 billion spent in 2022. This is up $250 million on the $2.6 billion spent by intrastate overnight visitors in 2019.
  • Driven by an increase in Easter holidaymakers, an estimated $173 million will be spent by intrastate, interstate and international visitors in South Australia over the four days of the 2023 Easter long weekend.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said it is an extraordinary achievement for tourism in South Australia – an industry which has not only recovered its pre COVID value but surpassed it; now worth a whopping $8.3 billion to our state.

"These are results that every tourism business across our state can be proud of – and every South Australian," Minister Bettison said.

"Thanks to our world-class offerings, incredible city and diverse regions, our spectacular calendar of events, and the recovery of our airline and cruise sectors, South Australia is a destination of choice for visitors – and our economy is reaping the rewards.

"To top it all off as we head into the Easter long weekend, around $173 million will be spent on tourism across the state over the next four days – that’s an egg-ceptional boost to business."

CEO West Beach Parks, Kate Anderson said West Beach Parks is thriving, with strong forward bookings throughout the rest of the year including a fully booked Easter weekend.

"It follows an outstanding 2022 which saw more South Australians holidaying in their own backyard, along with greater interstate visitation to the Park.

"The rapidly expanding major events program in Adelaide is also helping drive higher visitation, with the upcoming AFL Gather Round and the AFL Masters Games later in the year, among the events bringing new visitors to the Park.

"The broad holiday accommodation, sport and adventure offerings at West Beach Parks continue to be key attractors and are the focus of ongoing investment by us to ensure our offering remains contemporary."