Struggling South Australian tourism operators are crying out for direct financial support from the Marshall Liberal Government – with snap border closures and fluctuating restrictions placing more pressure on the ailing industry.
The Opposition is joining the calls for the Marshall Liberal Government to introduce a business support package for those dealing with the business uncertainty caused by lockdowns.
Other state governments have implemented support and survival packages for tourism businesses to combat a significant decline in turnover due to border closures and restrictions.
New figures show visitor expenditure in the State has plummeted by $3.7 billion – the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) stats reveal total visitor expenditure in the State fell from $8.1 billion in 2019 to $4.4 billion in the year ending March 2021.
The latest blow follows revelations the Marshall Liberal Government is cutting SATC’s budget by $24 million, and New Zealand tourists are opting to head elsewhere rather than South Australia.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison
Premier Steven Marshall, these businesses need support and they need it now.
Tourism operators are saying they are spending their time ploughing through cancellations and refunds, with snap border closures making people reluctant to risk interstate travel.
I’ve heard stories of people processing up to $100,000 in refunds which is unsustainable for already suffering businesses, many of which are small and family-run.
The harsh reality is that when other states lockdown these businesses shutdown.
Quotes attributable to Chook’s Little Winery Tours Terry ‘Chook’ McCoy
Kerry “Mrs Chook” and I have run this business from scratch over the last 11 years with no assistance from Banks or Government assistance.
So now we are expected to carry decisions made by government and government departments without any thought for how great companies like ours are going to survive.
Quotes attributable to Australian Coastal Safaris’ David ‘Lunch’ Doudle
From the cancellations that we’ve received since the border shutdowns, as hard as we’ve tried to get people rebooked into our gaps in accommodation & bums on seats on available tours during this time, they have just have not been filled.
It’s incredibly hard to refill cancelled trips at the last minute with walk-ins from people just within SA.
Quotes attributable to Taste the Barossa’s Dallas Coull
We have some outstanding tour operators in South Australia however this last lot of lockdowns in Victoria, Queensland and now NSW has taken most of what little wind was in our sails.
The last 18 months has been a rollercoaster both emotionally and financially. We as a family tour company have spent the last couple of weeks refunding over $65,000 worth of current and forward bookings and our tours in the future (if they run) are running at a loss.
While segments of the industry are doing better than others as a whole the tourism industry is in real trouble.
In order for this industry to bounce back the whole eco system needs to be strong.