South Australia’s major political parties must put tourism at the heart of their election pitch to voters to ensure that the sector continues to develop as a key long-term driver of economic and jobs growth across the State, the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said today.
TTF today launched a five-point plan that will continue to grow South Australia’s booming visitor economy and improve South Australia’s transport connectivity. The plan calls on the next South Australian Government to:
1. Increase funding for the South Australian Tourism Commission;
2. Increase investment in nature-based tourism infrastructure;
3. Appoint the Tourism Minister to the Expenditure Review Committee of Cabinet;
4. Support cultural and heritage tourism; and,
5. Improve South Australian connectivity.
“TTF is calling on Premier Jay Weatherill, Liberal Leader Steven Marshall and SA-BEST Leader Nick Xenophon to adopt TTF’s five-point plan to grow South Australia’s visitor economy and to give South Australians the transport infrastructure that they deserve,” TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said.
“The South Australian Government and the South Australian Tourism Commission have done a wonderful job in growing the State’s visitor economy and promoting the incredible range of tourism offerings, however South Australia will not reach its potential without increased investment and support for the sector.
“While a handful of tourism and transport announcements from the major political parties heading into Saturday’s election is very welcome, what the sector and the State needs is a holistic and long-term plan to take the industry forward.
“For the sake of South Australia’s economic future, tourism must be a key focus of the next South Australian Government.
“As the South Australian economy continues its transition away from manufacturing and mining, it is absolutely vital that the next South Australian Government harnesses the full potential of the tourism sector to generate jobs and underpin the economy of the future.
Ms Osmond said tourism is a fundamental part of the South Australian economy, injecting more than $6.3 billion into the local economy each year and directly employing more than 36,000 people across the State.
“The potential to grow these figures, however, could be unprecedented if both major parties are willing to stand up during this election campaign and commit to making the necessary investments in the sector if elected,” Ms Osmond said.
“As the home to some of the Australia’s most iconic natural regions – the Barossa Valley, the Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island to name but a few – South Australia has the potential to become one of Australia’s premier tourism States, but it is at risk of being overlooked unless it continues to grow its investment in destination marketing and tourism infrastructure.
“Through increased funding to support and promote cultural and heritage and nature-based tourism and increase and improve visitor infrastructure, the next South Australian Government can leverage its range of unique, world-class assets to further support growth in the visitor economy and create jobs.”
Ms Osmond said TTF has recently written to every South Australian Member of Parliament outlining just how critical tourism is as a major employer across the State.
“The TTF South Australian Business Count and Employment Atlas provides detailed information about tourism-related businesses and employment in every single South Australian electorate,” Ms Osmond said.
“The Atlas is a timely reminder for our political leaders that the visitor economy permeates every corner of the State and must be an absolute priority for the next South Australian Government.”