State tourism on road to recovery

State tourism on road to recovery

South Australian tourism is on the road to recovery as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, with tourism spending reported to be near pre-pandemic levels.

Limestone Coast Local Government Association executive officer Tony Wright said accommodation in the Limestone Coast in March and April 2022 hit record-high occupancy rates and in May and June was still well above pre-COVID levels.

“Operators are reporting strong forward bookings as we look to spring and summer and the upcoming October long weekend and school holidays,” Mr Wright said.

“Whilst total visits are still slightly lower than in 2019, the duration of visits is higher – hence the high occupancy rate with total spend from tourism 4% higher than before the pandemic.”

Mr Wright said national job vacancies were around 430,000 with the biggest shortages occurring in healthcare, accommodation and food services, which continued to be a challenge for tourism operators.

Across regional South Australia, May was the second highest occupancy on record at 57% compared to 50% in 2019.

Post-COVID record interstate spend helped drive the state’s visitor economy in May 2022 to 97% of 2019 levels.

This was on the back of the Easter high of 95% in April 2022.

Latest statistics from the South Australian Tourism Commission revealed South Australia recorded strong growth in visitor expenditure in May 2022, which reached a record high of $315m.

The net position of South Australia’s visitor economy for May 2022 was 97% of 2019 levels, excluding international visitation.

This made South Australia the third strongest relative performance since the pandemic began, behind May and December 2021.

Intrastate visitor expenditure in May 2022 was $175m, up 9% on pre-COVID levels.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said the data showed South Australia was tracking back to its once $8.1b visitor economy.

“To have the best result for interstate expenditure since the pandemic began is a wonderful indicator that recovery is on the right path,” Minister Bettison said.

“With increased consumer confidence to plan and book ahead, pent up travel demand and the return of conferences and events, we’re in a solid position to continue to build on this momentum as we head into the traditionally busier periods of spring and summer.”

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