Travel Daily caught up with Rodney Harrex, chief executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission, to learn the latest about what’s new Down Under for 2018 and how the commission engages the travel trade. Here’s what he said:
The mission and vision of the SATC
Tourism is an economic priority for South Australia and something I have been proud to be a part of for the past five years. I lead a dynamic and creative team who have been responsible for some ground-breaking work to ensure strong prospects for long-term growth for the tourism industry in South Australia.
We’ve shared some major wins over this period – from growing our visitor economy to a record AUD 6.6 billion (USD 5bn), to the introduction of new direct international flights including China Southern Airlines Qatar, Fiji Airways and Emirates, to implementing incredible marketing campaigns in our key markets and securing and hosting world class events.
Over the next three years, we will continue to market our tourism products and experiences domestically and internationally, we will develop our strengths of festivals and events, nature, and great living. We will continue to attract investment in tourism and develop our tourism assets and experiences and support our passionate tourism operators.
We are committed to growing our visitor economy to AUD8 billion and creating an additional 10,000 jobs by 2020 and to making South Australia a destination of choice for domestic and international visitors.
New for the SATC for 2018
There are many new and exciting things happening at SATC in 2018 as we continue to build on our fantastic achievements.
We have started the year strong, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors to a range of world class events including the Adelaide Fringe Festival, WOMADelaide and the Adelaide 500. Being a part of the 20-year celebration of the TDU was a magnificent milestone as was witnessing world cycling champions such as Peter Sagan take to our streets.
Just last week we hosted Australia’s largest travel and tourism business-to-business event, ATE18, as well as Tasting Australia, one of Australia’s most anticipated culinary festivals. As winter fast approaches there are a number of regional events to look forward to including Winter Reds, Umbrella Winter City Sounds and in Adelaide the highly anticipated Sydney Roosters versus Melbourne Storm at Adelaide Oval.
Looking forward, there are currently 16 new hotel builds announced for the Adelaide region with investment valued at over AUD 2 billion.
Working with travel agents
We work closely with our tourism industry to deliver marketing, events and development programs that support tourism growth. SATC works with key Singapore and Malaysian travel agents to develop cooperative marketing campaigns for the purpose of promoting Adelaide and wider South Australia to their customers via print, digital and social media.
SATC also attends Tourism Australia’s premier Trade Events including Walkabout (held last September 2017) and Corrobboree Asia (to be held this August 2018) which connects key buyers for the SE Asian region with Australian sellers. We participate in these trade events, together with South Australian tourism product and experiences to enhance the South Australian message and communicate what SA has to offer.
SATC is actively engaged in a Travel Agent training program across Singapore and Malaysia to ensure local agents are up to date with the newest and best tourism products and experiences, such as the Kangaroo Island product and tours and the Barossa wine region experiences.
We also work with Tourism Australia to further develop the ‘Aussie Specialist’ program which enhances the knowledge of Travel Agents that sell Australia. We have developed a new trade website for trade partners, retail travel agents or wholesale reservation consultants that has lots of useful information about selling South Australia such as suggested itineraries, destination information, events and packages and product updates. Check it out here.
South Australia is welcoming more visitors than ever before, with the latest national and international visitor survey results showing that our state’s visitor economy has skyrocketed to a record-breaking $6.6 billion, with international visitors contributing AUD 1.1bn in visitor expenditure.
These results are a fantastic achievement and can be attributed to a concentrated effort in a few critical action areas – the growth in aviation access, product improvements and upgrades, targeted marketing campaigns, our growing digital marketing presence, our successful bidding for major events and conferences that drive visitation and most importantly tourism operators committed to delivering excellent service and experiences.
More South Australians are also exploring their state and becoming well informed ambassadors for the amazing tourism offerings and experiences and sharing these with interstate and international visitors.