Tourism welcomed back
South Australians are voting with their feet – and dollars – this month in a record-breaking post COVID-19 tourism breakout.
As the state’s tourism sector takes its first steps back towards reclaiming its $8.1 Billion visitor economy, new data from the South Australian Tourism Commission confirms that “people are on the move”.
It is estimated that more than $50 million will be injected into the South Australian economy, by South Australians, this long weekend.
“What we are seeing very clearly is that we have all had enough of being at home, and now is the time to get out and see our great state,” according to SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex.
“In the first week of the #WelcomeBackSA campaign, we’ve already seen more visits to the SATC website than we had in the hugely successful #BookThemOut campaign – that’s more South Australians putting their state first, wanting to spend their time and money on our local tourism operators, and that is going to give this sector the boost that they so dearly need.”
Mr Harrex said visits to the state’s key tourism portal – southaustralia.com – had hit a new record, reporting 6.2 million visits so far this year, already more than 1.1 million visits than in the entire 2018/19 financial year. To put that in perspective, New South Wales has the highest visits out of all Australian states and territories at 7 million – SA is claiming well above its share of voice.
May also broke a new record for monthly visits to southaustralia.com with over 960K visits – more than 40% higher than the previous record set during the #BookThemOut campaign in January.
Mr Harrex said that as of the end of May, the year to date number of direct leads to tourism operators via the website was also up 59% compared to the same period last year.
“Now that restrictions are easing, and people are travelling both to the city and out to regional SA, we can start to rebuild the tourism sector, and ensure the 40,000 people who are employed in it can continue to go to work,” he said.
“We’re seeing massive uptake in leads to tourism operators in the Riverland, Yorke Peninsula and Flinders Ranges & Outback – who have more than doubled, along with the Murray River Lakes & Coorong and Fleurieu Peninsula, who had almost double the number of leads in May compared to May last year.”
Tourism in regional South Australia is worth $3.6 Billion and employs around 16,000 people.
Mick Mittiga, owner and operator of Clare Valley Cycle Hire, Riesling Trail & Clare Valley Cottages, and Brice Hill Country Lodge said:
“It’s as though the tap that was turned off has turned back on again! We’ve gone from zero bookings in April to just manic – all our cottages are booked-out over the long weekend, we’ve got 40 bikes hired, and we’re also seeing mid-week bookings coming in from all over Adelaide,” he said.
“People really seem to be taking up the idea of holidaying in their own state and helping out tourism. There’s a feeling out there that we need to help locals whether it’s on the back of bushfires or COVID, everyone’s keen to get out and support the community.”
Barry and Jane Duykers, owner and operator of Southern Ocean Retreats in Deep Creek said: “The response has been phenomenal – we’ve gone from the phone ringing off the hook with cancellations, to ringing off the hook with bookings,” Mr Duykers said.
“People have been very supportive and have been saying it’s a win-win – not only do they get to enjoy the accommodation and the trip away, they also feel good knowing they’re supporting local. To have this resurgence has been a much-needed boost.”
For travel inspiration, itineraries and more, visit southaustralia.com/welcomeback.