Ditch the airport queues this summer for an epic South Australian vacation. It won’t just be a blast, it’ll be a feel-good boost for SA’s regional economies. We’ve rounded up 12 top SA holiday picks to make it easy!
Tourism’s economic impact
It doesn’t get much more fun than planning your summer holidays. But for many South Australians, tourism is about more than leisure; it’s their livelihood – the business that puts food on their family’s table.
With visitor expenditure soaring to a record $9.9 billion for the year to June 2023, the industry’s role in regional development is vital. This October was the best month ever for accommodation bookings in regional South Australia, with more than 146,000 rooms occupied – nearly 20,000 more rooms than in the same month pre-pandemic.
The tourism industry currently supports over 34,000 SA jobs, many in those regional areas where tourism dollars are the local economy’s lifeblood. Through campaigns like Travel. Our Way., the State Government’s goal is ambitious but attainable; to expand the industry to $12.8 billion and create 52,000 jobs by 2030.
Rise up for our river!
Meanwhile, South Australians are stepping up in a big way to support the River Murray operators hit hard by the once-in-a-century flooding event last summer. Prior to the flooding event, tourism in the two regions was worth $436 million, directly employing 2800 people across both the Riverland and Murray River, Lakes & Coorong.
The State Government’s $4.6 million river tourism recovery plan – including the Rise Up for Our River campaign – is providing a much-needed boost to these communities as they rebuild. The plan has already rolled out two rounds of the River Revival Voucher program, with a third round set to kick off in early 2024.
The River Revival Voucher program has so far pumped an estimated $10.7 million into SA’s Murray River regions. More than doubling the impact of the first round, round two of the vouchers injected more than $7.6 million in economic impact into the Riverland and Murray River, Lakes & Coorong regions, with a total of 8,008 bookings across accommodation, experience, houseboat, and guided tour providers.
It’s not too late to add your support to the region’s tourism-led revival. The third and final round of vouchers will be up for grabs on 19-20 February, valid for holiday bookings from 22 February to 30 June. Find out more and how to enter the voucher ballot here.
What it means for river communities
Murraylands tour host and Juggle House Experiences owner Kelly Kuhn says the voucher program is a win-win for everyone involved and a saviour for small business.
“The vouchers are a direct and fast cash injection to our river communities providing aid in bouncing back to business, while at the same time, showcasing the gems of the ‘Mighty Murray’ for our customers to become greater ambassadors.”
“We look forward to welcoming more people back to South Australia’s natural playground – it’s the very heart and soul of our foundations.”
Hear more about how South Australian holiday makers are rising up for our River Murray:
Top 12 SA summer holiday experiences
Ready to start planning your SA summer holiday? Here are some iconic SA vacation ideas to get you started.
- Swimming with sea lions
- The d’Arenberg Cube
- Houseboating on the Murray
- Coastal Way road trip
- Shark cage diving
- Gin flight Coorong cruise
- Dark Sky Reserve dinner tour
- Ballooning in the Barossa
- Shell V-Power Motorsport Park
- Kangaroo Island
- The Riesling Trail
Time to travel our way
And if that’s not enough inspiration to start booking your next getaway, there’s a new tourism campaign out to entice visitors to get in on the best of SA.
The State Government’s $8.35 million Travel. Our Way. campaign celebrates our state’s unique travel style – authentic and unapologetically different. This campaign features the feel-good moments of South Australia. The moments that make you forget to take a photo because you are too busy enjoying the moment.
The Travel. Our Way. campaign features some of SA’s coolest experiences – think shark cage diving in Port Lincoln, and heli-camping at Rawnsley Park Station before lunching at the Prairie Hotel in the Flinders Ranges & Outback. They’re all soundtracked by the nostalgic nineties rock riffs of Lenny Kravitz‘s chart-topper, Are You Gonna Go My Way.
It’s not just a showcase of SA tourism treats, though – it’s part of a crucial State Government strategy to bolster our regional economies through increased visitor numbers, and it’s been hitting screens and streets in our biggest domestic markets – SA, Victoria, and New South Wales – across TV, outdoor, cinema, digital, and social media.
Find everything you need to plan your SA summer holiday here.
Want more? Jess Greatwich, Regional Tourism Manager for the Yorke Peninsula, joins the Hot Topics team to discuss how our regions are attracting diverse people as tourism flourishes post-pandemic: