As South Australia’s borders have reopened to fully vaccinated travellers across the nation, the state’s tourism industry is celebrating the recovery of a multi-billion-dollar market.
In fact, forward bookings for Adelaide hotels in the coming 3 months are the strongest they have been since the pandemic began.
Premier Steven Marshall said the reopening of South Australia’s borders will bring a huge economic boost at a critical time and will reunite family and friends in time for Christmas.
“South Australians have done a sensational job through this pandemic, and we’ve helped keep our community safe and our economy strong – putting us in the enviable position of being the first COVID-free state to open safely to domestic tourism,” Premier Marshall said.
“Forward bookings for Adelaide hotels have been growing steadily in the last few months. In fact, every week over the last 10 weeks has seen more overall forward bookings in hotel systems than the week before – which is great news for our CBD and jobs!
“Yesterday was the right time to open the borders to fully vaccinated travellers and we will now see the huge benefits this will bring to businesses, to our tourism industry, and to families and loved ones.
“Over 60,000 people have completed their EntryCheck applications, proving just how many people want to reunite with family, take advantage of business opportunities and most of all, check out the most liveable state in the country,” Premier Marshall said.
Pre COVID, $2.7 billion was spent by interstate visitors in South Australia – with more than $1.8 billion spent by tourists from New South Wales and Victoria alone.
South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said the reopening of South Australia’s borders was putting the state on the front foot to capitalise on domestic tourism.
“As the first COVID-free state to open to fully-vaccinated travellers in New South Wales and Victoria – our state’s two largest domestic markets – this is a huge opportunity for our industry,” Mr Harrex said.
“Interstate visitors spend three times as much as intrastate and pre COVID, tourism from NSW and Victoria made up nearly 70 per cent of our state’s interstate market. The reopening of borders puts us on the front-foot to attract what was a more than $1.8 billion market and means our friends on the Eastern seaboard can enjoy all that makes South Australia so great.
“From our world-class wines and cellar doors to incredible restaurants and laneway bars to our iconic March festival season – we’re throwing our doors open as we head into the summer holidays and chart our economic recovery.”
Adelaide Airport has experienced an increase in airline schedules this week – with a 52 per cent increase on weekly return domestic flights (excluding regional) – an extra 105 return flights per week, mostly from Sydney and Melbourne.
General manager of the luxury EOS by SkyCity, Jodi Brown said: “The Eos by SkyCity team has enthusiastically prepared for opening our doors to interstate guests once again. Eos, as well as our surrounding SkyCity food and beverage venues such as Sol Bar & Restaurant and iTL, experienced high demand from interstate guests prior to border closures. We have great confidence that we will attract those visitors again and anticipate strong demand in the lead up to our peak season.”
Oval Hotel general manager Bodelle Francis said: “We are fortunate to have experienced strong occupancy since opening our doors thanks to the support of South Australians and bolstered by the State Government’s Great State Voucher initiative. The Oval Hotel showcases the very best of South Australia, and we’re excited to be able to share that experience with interstate travellers. With the Ashes Test, summer of cricket and the festive season ahead of us, the timing couldn’t be better."
Mount Lofty Estate general manager Jesse Kornoff said he was looking forward to welcoming interstate guests to his iconic Adelaide Hills’ based luxury properties, and was particularly excited to showcase Sequoia, South Australia’s new luxury lodge to Victorian and New South Wales visitors.
“We’ve had incredible support from South Australians booking indulgent local stays with us over recent months – now it’s fabulous to see huge interest from our friends in the eastern states increasing every day. We know so many people are all really in need of a holiday – and we’re ready to welcome them and see that they are taken care of, treated, and indulged!” he said.
Eoin Loftus, chief executive of Majestic Hotels said, “once travellers regain confidence through greater certainty, there could well be a summer surge in demand which would be hugely welcomed”.
“Majestic Hotels very much looks forward to welcoming back our inter-state neighbours, especially those in the eastern states that we haven’t seen in such a long time. With borders now opened, there is definitely anticipation and optimism amongst our entire tourism industry,” he said.
“Arguably the safest state throughout the pandemic and with so many great experiences and events, why wouldn’t travellers flock to South Australia?”
Adelaide’s newest hotel has also experienced a recent spike in bookings, according to Sofitel Adelaide general manager Rachael Harman.
"Since opening our doors on November 4, we've been fortunate to have strong support by the domestic market, but lifting our borders is a total game changer. Since the announcement was made, booking enquiries for the Sofitel Adelaide have surged, and continue to do so, not least of all from priority markets in Melbourne and Sydney. It has definitely given travellers confidence and compelled them to plan their escape across the border for Christmas and into the new year," she said.