South Australia hits new record with $10.2b tourist spend

Woman enjoying the scenery while sitting on the edge of the cliff at Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Edited by Travel Weekly


    Just as South Australia’s Santos Tour Down Under comes to a close, the state’s tourism industry has surpassed $10 billion in total visitor expenditure for the first time.

    Latest data from Tourism Research Australia shows total visitor expenditure in South Australia for the year-ending September 2023 reached $10.2 billion, and that international expenditure has surpassed its pre-pandemic value to hit a record $1.22 billion.

    Zoe Bettison, South Australia’s tourism minister, the record $10.2 billion in tourism spend is terrific news for the state, particularly as it’s the first time South Australia has cracked the 10-billion-dollar mark.

    “That’s $10.2 billion injected straight into our economy and into the thousands of tourism businesses across our state who continue to provide world-class visitor experiences,” Bettison said.

    “With an expected easing of the tourism economy nationally in the coming year, we are continuing to invest in demand drivers like major events and our push to grow key sectors like cruise.”

    The latest International and National Visitor Survey results (year-ending September 2023) show:

    • Total visitor expenditure in South Australia reached $10.2 billion – a new all-time high for the state, up three per cent on the year-ending June 2023.
    • International spend has grown to $1.22 billion, surpassing the previous record of $1.21 billion in December 2019 prior to the pandemic.
    • Interstate spend has reached a high of $3.6 billion, up $69 million in the last quarter with intrastate spend steady at a high of $3.2 billion.
    • Visitor spend in regional South Australia remains strong at $4.7 billion, driven by the intrastate market and re emerging international market.
    • Visitor spend in Adelaide is at a record $5.6 billion, driven by strong growth from the international market.

    The year kicked off with the Adelaide International at The Drive and the Santos Tour Down Under. The Adelaide International 2024 drew 51,117 attendees at The Drive, making it the highest attendance record for a single week event since 2020.

    South Australia will continue to shine on the world stage for the rest of the year, hosting major events including:

    • Laser 2024 Men’s World Championships (Olympic Qualifier) | 24-31 January
    • Laser 2024 – Masters World Championships | 1-10 February
    • UCI Tissot Track Nations Cup | 2-4 February
    • Adelaide Fringe | 16 February – 17 March
    • Adelaide Festival | 1-17 March
    • WOMADelaide | 8-11 March
    • AFL Gather Round | 4-7 April
    • LIV Golf Adelaide | 26 -28 April
    • 2024 Australian Athletics Championships | 6-14 April
    • Adelaide Equestrian Festival | 18-21 April
    • Santos Wheelchair Rugby National Championships | 2-5 May
    • Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel | 3-12 May
    • Adelaide Cabaret Festival | 9-24 June
    • Illuminate Adelaide | 1-31 July
    • 2024 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final | 3 August
    • Dale Chihuly Exhibition | 27 September 2024 – 29 April 2025
    • Harvest Rock | October
    • Top Fuel Drag Championships | October
    • PGA Webex Players Series | October
    • National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant | November
    • Feast Festival | November
    • VAILO Adelaide 500 | 14-17 November

    Anna Moeller, CEO Australian Hotels Association SA,  said this reinforces that tourism and hospitality has the potential to be a significant engine room for jobs and investment in South Australia going forward.

    “These results are reflective of the continuing recovery of the industry post the devastation of COVID.”

    (Featured Image: Tourist at Kangaroo Island, South Australia – iStock/moisseyev)

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