$50m extra for South Australia – all to the wrong suit

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Government, Media and Communications, National Headlines, South Australia

TTN Commentary, 15th June 2015: The South Australian government has committed to an extra $50m in marketing even though recent statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics proved that visitors to cultural attractions are 40% more profitable than other categories of visitor.

This, direct from the ABS release on the value of Overseas Cultural and Heritage Visitors:

International cultural and heritage visitors spent $16,387m on trips to Australia in 2012. The average amount spent per trip was $5,956 compared with other international visitors who spent on average $3,779. It is likely that this higher spend was due to the longer average length of stay (47 nights compared with other international visitors who spent 26 nights on average).

Cultural and Heritage products, as counted by the ABS, include:

Attend theatre, concerts or other performing arts

Visit museums or art galleries

Visit art/craft workshops/ studios

Attend festivals/ fairs or cultural events

Experience Aboriginal art/craft and cultural displays

Visit an aboriginal site/ community

Visit historical/ heritage buildings, sites or monuments

SA Budget: Tourism spending to increase by nearly $50 million over the next four years

Tourism spending will increase by nearly $50 million in South Australia over the next four years as the Government looks to bid for more events and boost visitor numbers from China.

To be included in the 2015-16 state budget this week, the money will be spent on tourism marketing opportunities overseas and within Australia.

It will more than quadruple the amount of money in the Government’s bid fund, used to secure conventions and major events such as the upcoming Liverpool match at the Adelaide Oval.

The Government planned to spend $14 million to target marketing opportunities in China, India and South-East Asia, as well as more “traditional markets” in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States and New Zealand.

It also planned to spend $6 million on domestic marketing and $15 million for bid funding.

“Now is the perfect time to invest in the growing tourism industry and use the lower Australian dollar to our advantage,” Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis said the Chinese visitor market was the highest spending of all international visitors and was “absolutely critical” to increase employment in the regions.

He said the investment would help it to reach its goal of 57,000 Chinese visitors by 2020 and generate an additional 10,000 “direct, tourism-related jobs”.

“Direct tourism jobs have already grown by 1,000 since we released our key economic priorities,” Mr Koutsantonis said.

The tourism boost would result in SA’s total spend on tourism for the next four years equalling more than $266 million.

The Government said it would also spend $6 million over the next four years to further promote the Tour Down Under, $2 million to establish the Adelaide Fashion Festival in the city’s CBD “with a renewed focus on Asian markets”, and $5.7 million for its Destination Adelaide campaign targeting international students and their families.

Mr Koutsantonis said Destination Adelaide would focus on parts of Asia where the state already had a strong trading presence, such as China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

“There are many examples of international students and their parents coming to South Australia to do a degree and coming back later a few years afterwards and making a major investment, or indeed having parents on the spot turning up in South Australia and making an investment immediately,” he said.

“We really want to get out there and let them know that they can send their children here to great sandstone universities in a capital city that’s safe [and] welcoming to migrants.”

‘Not enough’ spending on international students

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said $5.7 million was not enough and other states were putting “huge resources” into international students.

“We are not performing well in this area at all,” he said.

“We have just over 5 per cent of the nation’s share of international students. It’s not even at our pro rata entitlement.”

In 2012, the State Government announced it would cut $1.6 million a year in funding to Education Adelaide, an organisation aimed at attracting international students to the city.

It claimed at the time that universities did the majority of the work and the investment was not necessary.

Some of the funding has since been restored, including $900,000 annually from this year.

Mr Marshall said the latest investment simply restored what was previously cut from the sector.

“That’s actually what they had been putting in. It’s not new money,” he said.

South Australia’s 2015-16 budget will be released on Thursday.

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