Tourists make the most of the Limestone Coast
In incredible results for the Limestone Coast, and South Australia in general, the latest report from the SATC (South Australian Tourism Commission) shows that international visitors spent $1.15 billion in the state.
This puts South Australia’s tourism economy ahead of the national average, with a growth of 18% compared to an average of 8%.
Whilst most international visitors make the state capital of Adelaide their primary destination, the Limestone Coast is the most visited region in SA, with 45,000 visitors between December 2016-2017.
To put that into perspective, those numbers beat out Kangaroo Island, a highly publicised coastal destination, which had 43,000.
Chinese tourists and travellers make up the most of our international visitors – 55% of the market.
For the month of February, the Naracoorte Tourist Information Centre (located in the Sheep’s Back Museum) recorded 836 enquiries, with 54 day visits, 224 overnight visits, and 79 longer stay visits (more than two nights).
There were 141 international visitors in total, and the total amount of enquiries for the financial year to date is 7,897.
For Mayor Erika Vickery, this result is due to the hard work of many people in the region, and has a positive flow-on effect for towns’ economies.
The Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA) Tourism Management Group has the ability to work consistently and effectively across seven councils.
And closer to home, the Naracoorte Lucindale Council is committed to boosting tourism.
Annually they support multiple cultural events, such as the Taste Festival, Frances Folk Gathering, South East Field Days, and Carols in the Square.
There are always various community events, and the Council appreciates the work of the Naracoorte Lucindale Business and Tourism Association.
“The importance of tourism to the region, it’s an economic driver,” Mayor Vickery said.
“It has a multiplying effect.”
The tourism industries require people employed in customer service, retail, hospitality, and infrastructure.
One of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council’s major initiatives has been the Caves Connections project, which has already had a significant cultural impact (the gallery mural), and has the potential for significant economic impacts (the Wayfinding plan).
As a World Heritage site, the Caves themselves consistently attract visitors from around the globe.
According to Acting Site Manager Nick McIntyre, approximately 20,000 guests have visited the Naracoorte Caves this year.
The number of international visitors has steadily risen, and they come from places as diverse as England, Germany, the Netherlands, China, India, Switzerland and Denmark.
Increasing tourism in South Australia has been a priority for our state governments in years past – since December 2016, domestic expenditure has increased to $5.5 billion.
The new Marshall government has announced a $40 million Events Bid Fund, to increase the state’s reputation for world-class festivals centered around culture, cuisine, and sports.