Voucher boost, international tennis, update from National Cabinet, & more...
What a way to kick off 2021 – the launch of the second round of our Great State Vouchers, getting set to roll with the Santos Festival of Cycling, and today’s confirmation from Tennis Australia that Memorial Drive will host a new international tennis event.
Today’s meeting of the National Cabinet – the first National Cabinet meeting for the year – highlighted that the risk of COVID-19 in our community remains ongoing. Decisions were made in that meeting to help manage the risk of the UK strain, as well as a determination that the Greater Brisbane area is now officially declared a “hotspot”.
Please read on for my update to industry.
Vouchers bring immediate boost in bookings
Operators across the state have reported a flood of enquiries since we launched the new voucher scheme on Tuesday, with bookings really having a major impact from Thursday when the online portal opened.
Our website traffic on Thursday was at a record high – data from southaustralia.com shows more than 60,000 unique devices had visited the site by 4pm, perusing deals and checking where they could use their $100 and $50 vouchers.
Last night, 175 room-nights were already enjoyed – and tonight, more than 460 vouchers are being redeemed. That’s over 635 rooms secured in the first two nights of the program, injecting immediate cash into the visitor economy. There are around 5,000 voucher bookings already in our system.
Thank you to all participating operators and to those who have been in touch with us, providing updates. See below a few comments from operators:
Bukirk Glamping: “Blown away by today… I can’t tell you the amount of calls I had as the iPhone cuts out after so many and so did my messagebank. So now I have to post to tell people who haven’t heard from me to get back in touch.. great problem to have!”. At least 60 bookings in the first day.
CABN: “We’re approaching over 200 booking enquiries in the last two hours, they are converting to bookings and it looks like we’re going to be at 100% occupancy until end of March. Great outcome for us and all SA based tourism operators!”. Update, CABN is now full to the end of March.
Mayfair Hotel: “Phones jammed.. at 8pm there was still a 20 min wait. Received 1,200 total in the first round, already way up on last time. People are coming in and staying straight away, 50 arrivals to 106 just yesterday.” Around 1,000 room nights booked on the first day.
While the immediate response is strong, I’m continuing to urge everyone who picked up a voucher to book their stay as soon as possible. You have until January 31 to find a hotel and book a room, for travel until 31 March.
We are also encouraging people that may not have secured their preferred night in their preferred hotel – due to high demand – to consider other providers and ensure the voucher is used. More than 300 accommodation providers have signed up to this round, so there are plenty of rooms and reasons to take a stay in SA. The SATC is also continuing to investigate a potential round three of the vouchers, looking into tours and experiences, and I hope to provide an update on that shortly.
Santos Festival of Cycling – less than two weeks to go
While vouchers are certainly taking up a lot of energy at the moment, our team switches gear next week when the Santos Festival of Cycling comes to town. The six day celebration of everything that makes Australian cycling great runs from Tuesday 19 to Sunday 24 January, so our Events South Australia team is ramping up activity in preparation for the event. All the information about how to take part or be a spectator at one of the stages, see tourdownunder.com.au.
Tennis greats come to Adelaide
Exciting news today – Adelaide will welcome the return of international tennis later this month. Some of the world’s top players from the ATP and WTA tours will take part in an exhibition tournament at Memorial Drive on January 29 and 30. This is a huge coup for South Australia, and one our Events South Australia team has worked hard to secure. Keep an eye out in The Advertiser tomorrow for more details.
National Cabinet update and new border restrictions
Following today’s meeting of the National Cabinet, a series of measures will be introduced which aim to reduce the risk of more COVID-19 cases with the UK strain. These include:
- A new national standard that makes facemasks compulsory on all domestic and international flights.
- Pre-flight testing for all returning Australians from overseas, as recommended by the SA Government. A negative result must be returned prior to their departure.
- Australia will not increase the overall number of repatriation flights into Australia.
- Quarantine workers to be tested for COVID-19 on a daily basis.
In addition, in response to the community transmission of a case of the UK strain in Brisbane, the Premier announced new restrictions on the SA-Queensland border.
From midnight tonight (8 January), travellers returning to SA from the Greater Brisbane area will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Anyone who has arrived to SA from Greater Brisbane since 2 January will be contacted by SA Health and required to undergo COVID testing. Professor Nicola Spurrier also urged South Australians to reconsider any plans to travel to Queensland.