10 Dec 2022

Tourists splash post-pandemic record cash

Oval Hotel, Adelaide
Oval Hotel, Adelaide

Visitors to South Australia have spent more in a month than they have in any other month since the pandemic started, with a whopping surge in tourism expenditure thanks to major events and conferences, and the return of cruise ships.

New National Visitor Survey and South Australian Tourism Commission data estimates total visitor expenditure in South Australia in September was $790 million – making it a post-COVID record of 124 per cent of its 2019 spend.

It is the highest visitor expenditure since the pandemic began, and the sixth consecutive month in which tourism expenditure was above or near pre-COVID levels.

Latest National Visitor Survey data for September 2022 from Tourism Research Australia shows:

  • Total visitor expenditure in South Australia in September 2022 was 124 per cent of 2019 levels – a new post-pandemic record high, toppling the previous record of 115 per cent of 2019 spend achieved only the month prior (August 2022)
  • At $790 million, it is the highest visitor expenditure in one month since the pandemic began
  • Interstate spend for the month was $307 million, up an impressive 57 per cent on 2019 levels
  • Intrastate spend was $270 million, up 25 per cent on the pre-COVID September in 2019.

The data comes on the back of a week of major event news, including artist announcements for the Santos Tour Down Under and next year’s VALO Adelaide 500, programs released for the Adelaide Fringe and Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel, some of the world’s best tennis players confirmed for the Adelaide International in January and the Australia v West Indies Test Match currently underway at Adelaide Oval.

Today, at Outer Harbor, the biggest cruise ship of South Australia’s cruise season arrives in Adelaide with 4,700 passengers and 1,500 crew, with The Ovation of the Seas docking as part of a 7-day round-trip departing Sydney.

Passengers will disembark to take onshore tours and experiences, visiting Barossa, Adelaide Hills, and the CBD.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said the record-breaking performance for tourism post-COVID in South Australia continues, with visitor expenditure "surging ahead of pre pandemic levels".

"We know September was a blockbuster – we saw a record-high room nights occupied for CBD hotels (which has since already been topped!), we hosted major events like the AFL Masters and conferences like the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, and we welcomed the return of cruise ships to our state," Minister Bettison said.

"With the Test Match on now drawing crowds to Adelaide Oval, a string of announcements this week for upcoming major events like the Adelaide International and Santos Tour Down Under, and the biggest cruise ship of the season at Outer Harbor today – there is plenty more to come for tourism in our state."