The latest national visitor survey results by Tourism Research Australia show that South Australia welcomed 6 million visitors for the year ending September 2020, down 24 percent on 2019, while expenditure decreased by 31 per cent to $3.5 billion

International demand unsurprisingly took the biggest hit, with visitation down by 44 percent to 262 thousand and expenditure falling by 45 percent to $621 million.

Tourism Industry Council South Australia (TiCSA) CEO Shaun de Bruyn said the impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism industry have been crippling and unprecedented, with many tourism businesses still struggling to remain financially viable.

“Uncertainty and inconsistency regarding border restrictions at a national level continues to have negative effects on business activity and people’s confidence to willingly travel,” said Mr de Bruyn.

“Government incentives such as the Great State Voucher Program have been invaluable, but many sectors, such as tour operators, have not yet received the same support and are reliant on JobKeeper.

“The extension of JobKeeper beyond March is vital to business sustainability until vaccination rates are high and international borders reopen. Without JobKeeper we will consequently see more tourism business closures and livelihoods lost to the pandemic.”

Photo: Henschke, South Australian Tourism Commission