Record tourist spending in South Australia

SCENERY: With scenery like this in the Mid North, it is little wonder that tourist numbers are rising. The ruins are beside the Spencer Highway near Clements Gap, south of Pirie.
SCENERY: With scenery like this in the Mid North, it is little wonder that tourist numbers are rising. The ruins are beside the Spencer Highway near Clements Gap, south of Pirie.

Tourism spending has soared to a record $7.2 billion with country South Australia, including the Flinders Ranges, outback and Mid North, contributing to the increase.

Acting Tourism Minister Tim Whetstone said the state's regions had contributed a huge 4.3 million visits and 15.4 million visitor nights to the total.

"Regions are incredibly important to the state's tourism industry with the latest data showing growth of 15 per cent, well above the overall state growth of 8 per cent," he said.

"In fact, 43 cents of every tourism related dollar generated in our state is spent in the regions.

"It is great to see Australians heading to our regions in record numbers spending $2.9 billion and creating valued economic activity and local jobs.

"South Australia's wonderful tourism assets are the talk of the country with people arriving in droves from interstate to sample our amazing food and wine or indulge in a luxury escape to take in our incredible nature and wildlife."

From December 2013 to March 2019, data for the Flinders and Outback shows overnight visits grew 36 per cent.

From December 2013 to March 2019, data for the Flinders and Outback shows overnight visits grew 36 per cent.

Industry has echoed these results with reports of strong airline passenger loads and many operators having record bookings and intense levels of visitor activity in the summer.

Recognising the importance of tourism to the economy, the state government has further invested in this market in the state budget with an extra $43 million to market SA to the world.

"While these numbers are fantastic, we need to keep up the momentum as we prepare to release the 2030 Tourism Industry Sector Plan," Mr Whetstone said.

"Our goal is to drive the visitor economy to new heights and we remain committed to achieving the 2020 target of an $8 billion visitor economy and 10,000 extra jobs."

South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex welcomed the results.

"Our appeal as a destination has never been higher - our successful Tell us Where and Rewards Wonder campaigns have showcased SA to the country and our world-class events and tourism offerings are leaving lasting impressions on all who visit," he said.

"These numbers are fantastic especially given the fierce competition for the tourism dollar."

"We recognise we have a lot of work ahead of us to further grow the industry and we look forward to unveiling some exciting new campaigns in coming months."

The government welcomed the latest March 2019 National Visitor Survey results which confirmed the boost for regions, tourism businesses and the broader economy.

The results show visitors from Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria provided the biggest increase - helping notch up $6.2 billion in local spending - on top of more than $1 billion in international spending for the same time.

Cr Ali Gulin recently told Port Pirie Regional Council that 43 per cent of revenue from tourism came from the regions including around Port Pirie. She said there were 36,000 state tourism jobs and 1600 in the regions. Of 8000 businesses involved in tourism, 5000 were in the country. "An extra 10,000 jobs in tourism will be created by 2030," she said. "South Australia has just overtaken Victoria by a minute percentage as the national leader in food and wine."

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