South Australia’s tourism revenue has plummeted by more than $70 million, according to the latest national statistics.
Amongst other SA hotspots, Barossa tourism is down $21 million and the River Murray Lakes and Coorong is down $9 million (in the 12 months to December 2018).
The State Opposition blames the Marshall Liberal Government for cutting $11 million from the tourism budget last year with a further $5 million being proposed in this year’s June State Budget according to industry sources.
Shadow Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said that after years of investment and growth, such a decline will put businesses and jobs at risk,
"This is a big hit to the tourism industry bottom line and with further cuts to the Tourism Commission’s budget, it will only get worse,
"The Marshall Liberal Government has been in office for more than twelve months and yet they have delivered no new strategy to grow this key industry," Ms Bettison said.
It comes just a few weeks after data showed SA was the only State going backwards on international visitor numbers – down 3 per cent on the year to December 2018.
However Tourism Minister David Ridgway disputes allegations,
“The latest National Visitor Survey numbers are positive news for our state with South Australian expenditure up by three per cent year-on-year,” said Minister Ridgway,
“A particular highlight is interstate expenditure which has risen 12 per cent to a record-high $2.2 billion,
“Regional South Australia continues to be popular with visitors and pleasingly regional expenditure has grown seven per cent to $2.8 billion and now contributes 42 per cent to the overall visitor expenditure in the state,
“Tourism is a key part of our state’s economy and this shows that South Australia is an attractive destination for interstate visitors to come and enjoy,
“The Marshall Liberal Government will continue to work hard to showcase the best of what South Australia has to offer from metropolitan Adelaide to our fantastic regional areas,"Minister Ridgway said.
Image: The Barossa Valley by Kyle Taylor, Flickr