Published: July 18, 2019

Tourism expenditure has soared to a record $7.2 billion as Australians spend more than ever before throughout their visit to South Australia.


The Marshall Liberal Government has welcomed the latest March 2019 National Visitor Survey results which confirm a fantastic boost for South Australian regions, tourism businesses and the broader SA economy.

The results show visitors from Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria provided the biggest boost – helping notch up $6.2 billion in local spending - in addition to the over $1 billion in international expenditure for the same period.

Acting Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Tim Whetstone said regional South Australia contributed a massive 4.3 million visits and 15.4 million visitor nights to the overall State 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,” said Minister Whetstone.

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

“It’s great to see Australians heading to our regions in record numbers spending $2.9 billion and, in the process, 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,” said Minister Whetstone.

Industry have echoed these results with reports of strong airline passenger loads and many operators receiving record bookings and intense levels of visitor activity over summer.

Carly Bussenschutt, owner of luxury accommodation provider Stowaways on Kangaroo Island, confirmed the boom, saying occupancy levels in December reached 72 per cent, and neared full capacity in January.

“Kangaroo Island is absolutely buzzing - I have never seen this many people visiting the North Coast and Stokes Bay region,” said Ms Bussenschutt.

Recognising the importance of tourism as a key economic driver, the Marshall Liberal Government has further invested in tourism in the recent State Budget with an additional $43 million to market South Australia 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 as part of the Government’s ambitious Growth Agenda,” said Minister Whetstone.

“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 additional 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 South Australia to the country and our world-class events and tourism offerings are leaving lasting impressions on all who visit”.

“These numbers are fantastic especially given the fierce competition for the tourism dollar, but we are not resting on our laurels.

“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 the coming months,” said Mr Harrex.

For more information on the National and International Visitor Survey visit www.tra.gov.au

Media Release SA’s visitor economy reaches record $7.2 billion from Hon Tim Whetstone MP, Acting Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment 17 July 2019.