Tourism’s a key economic driver for our state. It’s an industry that’s now worth a record-breaking $6.7b and employs over 36,000 South Australians. Over the past five years alone we’ve seen 5,000 new jobs created in tourism and the broader visitor economy.
That said, tourism’s an ever-changing and highly competitive industry and the South Australian tourism industry can’t rest on its laurels. We’ve recently seen other state and territory governments significantly increase their tourism investment, including $290m from the NSW Government to enhance their already booming visitor economy. The NT has also announced funding for the $103m Turbocharging Tourism Package to grow jobs, better their marketing campaigns and secure lucrative business events.
We must therefore work collaboratively with our State Government and continuously invest in tourism in order to remain relevant.
Following the release of the 2018-19 State Budget, it’s pleasing to see that the State Government is delivering on their tourism election promises, including $21.5m over four years to grow the event bid funds, $10m in 2019-20 to invest in the state’s tourism marketing initiatives and $150m over ten years to deliver the Regional Growth Fund – an extremely valuable initiative given that our regional and remote areas account for 41% of the total spend from our visitors.
However, there’s more to be done to ensure our tourism industry meets its 2020 targets of $8b and 41,000 jobs, with a call to action for future state budgets to increase tourism funding.
Our 900-plus industry members continue to reinforce the need for the South Australian Tourism Commission to receive sufficient funding, including ongoing investment towards their global marketing activities to ensure our magnificent state remains on the tourism map.
A whole of government approach to tourism is essential, as is the case in Queensland. We want our state government agencies to support and undertake projects that foster collaboration, including an annual visitor economy summit.
Likewise, our tourism operators and their staff must have the capabilities to deliver the best experiences possible, which is why SATIC is advocating to work in partnership with the State Government to strengthen industry and workforce development.
Furthermore, we will persist in seeking government support to reduce the costs associated with doing business, which particularly hinder the many small to medium sized businesses within our tourism industry.
Tourism will continue to evolve and diversify, and we must work collectively if we are ever to fully reap the rewards and unlock its full economic potential.
Shaun de Bruyn
Chief Executive Officer
South Australian Tourism Industry Council