Business activity and outlook for tourism operators in South Australia has dropped, according to the June quarter 2019 TiCSA Tourism Barometer.

The survey for the April to June quarter found that the tourism Business Activity Index contracted by ten per cent from the March 2019 quarter to 105 points, while the Business Activity Index has continued to decline over the last three quarters.

The Business Outlook Index covering expectations for the next three months was also down by 18 points, or 13 per cent, from the March quarter to 116 points.

TiCSA Chief Executive Officer Shaun de Bruyn said factors that had a positive impact on this quarter included the dates for Easter which fell in the same week as Anzac Day, encouraging people to travel during that period.

“Other positive drivers included the Lake Eyre flooding, and greater cooperation with National Parks,” he said.

“Less favourable influences for the quarter included concerns regarding the economic outlook, the federal election, increased competition particularly from unlicensed tourism operators, as well as an increase in state taxes.”

The data from Tourism Research Australia for the year ending March 2019 shows strong domestic demand with record visitor expenditure at $7.2 billion – up by eight per cent. Expenditure by interstate visitors was up by 23 per cent, while expenditure by intrastate visitors was up by 12 per cent. On the flip side, day trips expenditure was down by two per cent from the previous year as was international expenditure, which was down by seven per cent.

“While the most recent data from Tourism Research Australia demonstrates that domestic tourism in South Australia is experiencing growth, international expenditure is significantly lower than the national average,” Shaun said.

“The June 2019 quarter barometer indicates that operators are experiencing challenging conditions and are also less confident about the immediate future.

“TiCSA remains committed to lobbying the State Government on priority areas of support, top of the list being the need for the South Australian Tourism Commission to receive $50 million annually to drive demand through marketing activities.”

The outlook for the next three months was supported by strong forward bookings in some instances, product development and marketing.

“The recently announced $12 million upgrade of the state’s national parks by the State Government, including the Heysen Trail in the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula, will make a significant contribution to the nature-based tourism products in South Australia,” said Shaun.

That said, respondents were worried about the economic outlook, highlighting business costs and state taxes as areas of concern. The cuts to the state’s tourism budget were also mentioned.

The Labour Force survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the number of persons employed in accommodation and food services in May 2019 was 60,800 – down slightly by two per cent from May 2018. Full-time employment was also down by nine per cent to 19,800, while part-time employment was up by 1.5 per cent to 41,000.

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Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Cat. 6291.0.55.003. Labour Force Australia, Detailed