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The tourism industry has encountered many challenges throughout the pandemic and local tourism operators Coonawarra Experiences are anticipating the return of travellers.

Coonawarra Experiences is run by Simon and Kerry Meares and they offer tailored tours of the region for people wanting a one-of-a-kind experience.

Ms Meares said their business had currently slowed and believed factors contributing to this were increased fuel prices, an increase in general costs and a pending Federal election.

“Over the last three or four weeks, tour bookings have slowed somewhat,” she said.

“It feels there’s definitely momentum for the second half of this year and beyond based on the enquiries we are receiving and bookings coming in for later in 2022.”

Mr Meares said during an average week pre-COVID, they would have three to four groups through from Monday to Friday and two to three groups on the weekend.

“I think where we were before COVID, as far as working out what the averages were, that’s definitely changed between then and now,” Mr Meares said.

“It’s much more difficult to get a pattern.”

Ms Meares said tourists were now travelling differently and internationals were only just beginning to return.

In regards to interstate travellers, Ms Meares said some states were only just starting to come back to South Australia, but Victorians had been aplenty and they had also seen many self-sufficient caravanners.

“Victoria for this particular region is definitely a big one, they have been coming back in droves,” she said.

Ms Meares said it seemed South Australians travelling intrastate had been exhausted due to exploring their own backyards extensively during the pandemic.

“And I would say fuel costs are definitely influencing that,” she said.

Mr Meares said they also saw a trend up until recently of people booking at the last minute or in major advance due to uncertainty with COVID.

“It’s sort of levelled out a bit now, but what we were getting was bookings at the very last minute or bookings for three or four months’ time, so booking in February for May or June,” he said.

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