Thursday, March 31 2022

I warmly welcome you to Government House to show appreciation to the State and national winners of the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia awards.

It is a pleasure to see you again after I had the honour to speak at the awards ceremony at the Adelaide Oval in November last year.

In these first few months of my appointment as Governor, Rod and I have taken the opportunity to re-visit a number of our cultural and tourism icons and started to travel to the regions.

I have been impressed to meet the people who are recognising and harnessing opportunities to develop our State:

  • The cafes, restaurants and markets proudly using or displaying fresh local produce
  • The wineries, distilleries and breweries adding to the tasting experience with hands on experiences
  • The creative tourism operators devising encounters to immerse people in our landscapes and wildlife
  • The accommodation providers putting us close to attractions.

All built on the passion, innovation, and hard work of people such as yourselves.

There is no denying that tourism has been hit hard by the global pandemic. It has been a long two years.

I congratulate you on your resilience and commitment.

Recently there have been positive signs for tourism, including, I’m informed, strong forward bookings.

We’ve just had a sensational Fringe and Festival season.

More people are out and about exploring South Australia.

The latest data from the South Australian Tourism Commission shows domestic visitor spending across the State has topped pre-COVID levels.

The growth of confidence in interstate travel, now that our borders have reopened, has resulted in a significant boost in bookings in the city and regions.

And further to that, now international borders have reopened and the requirement for pre-flight testing is shortly to be dispensed with, South Australia can rebuild our in-bound overseas markets.

Pre-COVID, South Australia had built an impressive $8.1 billion industry and there are clear signs we can rebound.

Tourism expenditure for the 12 months to September last year topped $5.9 billion, $0.6 billion ahead of forecasts and a positive sign that South Australia was still a must-see destination, both from visitors from interstate and from locals exploring their own backyards like never before.

After all, as Australia’s most liveable city, and the third most liveable city in the world, and, with stunning regional destinations, we have much to promote to visitors.

I thank the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia for advocating for, and supporting of our tourism businesses, particularly through the pandemic.

I admire your resilience because alongside our tourism icons, the backbone of the industry is made up of small or family run businesses.

That makes tourism special because you are close to your clients.

Again, I congratulate all the award winners, sponsors and supporters.

Thank you for your contribution to building a vibrant South Australia.