While SA unemployment may be considered the worst in the nation, positions in tourism are at an all time high.
Tourism Research Australia has released figures this week showing the total number of employees in the sector has risen to a record 38,900; a four per cent increase, or 1,616 jobs, on the previous year.
This follows news that South Australia’s tourism expenditure has hit a record high $7.2 billion at the end of March 2019.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway said it shows the growing strength of the sector and highlights its broader contribution to the local economy.
“Tourism is such a critical part of the state’s employment focus, now employing more than four times as many people as the mining sector," said the Minister.
“The sector has enjoyed record growth in both expenditure and employment over the past few years and with the recent release of the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030, we now have a roadmap to build on this momentum.”
The Murray River, Lakes and Coorong region has posted a massive increase in visitor numbers and spending too.
The region recorded 334,000 visitors over the 12 months to March 2019 – a rise of 25 per cent on visitor numbers six years earlier – according to the March 2019 National Visitor Survey.
Visitor expenditure also rose by an impressive 40 per cent over the same period to $172 million annually, up from $123 million.
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Tourism Development Manager Julie Bates said the figures show the region’s popularity as a holiday destination is on the rise.
“Locals have always known that the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong has so much to offer, from the stunning beauty of the Murray River and its ochre cliffs, to the premium wines produced in Langhorne Creek, the luxury of cruising on a houseboat or the adventure of camping away from it all in the Coorong.
“Significant investment in the region such as the incredible The Bend Motorsport Park and the new Lions 360 experience at Monarto Zoo are exposing a new wave of tourists to all of the amazing attractions the Murray
River, Lakes and Coorong has to offer.
“The incredibly positive thing for this region is that the investment is continuing. The new $35 million Gifford Hill Racecourse and function centre will deliver opportunities for major events and race meetings," Julie Bates said.
Construction has begun on the $45 million redevelopment of the Bridgeport Hotel, and Monarto Zoo is also planning for a state-of-the-art $16.8 million visitor centre upgrade.
The recent announcement of 2020 Tour Down Under stages and events to be held in the region – including the Challenge Tour set to finish in Murray Bridge – will bring a completely new market of people to our region for more day trips and overnight stays.
The increased visitation rate also coincides with the roll-out of an innovative $100,000 tourism marketing campaign throughout 2019, which targeted hundreds of thousands of South Australian and Victorian people and has already substantially helped to raise the region’s profile as a great holiday destination.
Image: supplied, SouthAustralia.com