The Tourism Industry Council South Australia (TiCSA), united with key policymakers, industry leaders and operators at a recent business breakfast to discuss the priorities for a strong and expeditious recovery, with consumer confidence and marketing top of the list.
TiCSA Chairman Eoin Loftus said South Australia has an enormous opportunity to leverage domestic markets but changing interstate border restrictions have made people nervous to travel.
“Domestic tourism has four times the opportunity than compared to international, so if we tap into half of that, we are twice as better off than what we were before,” Loftus said.
“If we really channel towards domestic tourism now, there is the potential for big expenditure in our city and regions, which will foster a rapid recovery and position our tourism industry for strong growth once international borders reopen.
“In order to achieve this, we must eliminate people’s fear to travel and remind them that we are a safe state through effective marketing.”
Rodney Harrex, Chief Executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), said the SATC’s marketing budget will be extended and reallocated in the year ahead with a focus on domestic marketing.
“Our current budget allocation was about $22 million for marketing, this will be extended to $35 million and we will be revisiting the initiatives and programs in place, particularly in terms of reallocating international marketing spend,” Harrex said.
“Research from Qantas has reinforced that the biggest barrier to travel is the uncertainty of being trapped somewhere. However, significantly reduced airfares are a key motivator, so we are going to be investing with airlines to get domestic markets to travel more.
“It is about listening to and engaging with businesses and identifying the key areas to invest to get consumers to move.”
As well as marketing, Premier Steven Marshall said the most important ingredient to rebuilding confidence this year is the successful rollout of the vaccine.
“If we do this correctly, this will give confidence to consumers, businesses, and investors in South Australia, and that is precisely what we need,” Premier Marshall said.
Round three of the successful Great State Voucher program was recently announced by the State Government, but the details are yet to be confirmed.
In addition to the extension of JobKeeper beyond March 2021, TiCSA has been actively calling for the latest voucher program to be more inclusive of struggling tourism businesses, particularly tour operators and attractions.
“Our tour and attraction operators continue to struggle as unlike other tourism sectors, majority of these businesses have been unable to adapt their product offering to attract local and domestic markets,” Loftus said.
Tourism Australia’s Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said the organisation’s next domestic campaign ‘City Escapes’ will support Australia’s cities, which are also suffering from the absence of the leisure, corporate and student markets.
“Australians travel, but they do not travel like international visitors do,” Harrison said.
“We are trying to convince them to travel more like international travellers to help those businesses that are reliant on international demand until borders reopen.”
TiCSA is South Australia’s peak tourism body, representing over 900 tourism businesses across the state.