South Australia’s visitor economy was in sharp decline even before the bushfires and Coronavirus hit, according to statistics released by the State’s leading tourism body.
Tourism Industry Council South Australia’s (TiCSA) quarterly tourism barometer shows a steep decline in tourism business activity and outlook in the months leading up to – and including – December 2019.
The barometer shows the visitor economy at its lowest ebb since 2012, with a huge 51 per cent decrease in business outlook, and a 34 per cent decline in business activity.
The results follow the Marshall Liberal Government’s $23 million tourism cuts and reveal about 15 per cent more businesses were either ‘extremely worried’ or ‘worried’ about their prospects for the next 12 months.
Since then, sentiment is expected to be worse as tourism operators face tough barriers since recent bushfires and the threat of Coronavirus.
Businesses in bushfire affected areas are reporting a downturn in visitors and in some cases finding it necessary to lay off staff.
The industry has been widely critical of the Marshall Liberal Government’s $23 million of cuts to the tourism budget; especially at a time when the State’s national share of tourism and international visitor spend is declining.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Zoe Bettison
It is clear tourism business confidence has taken a massive hit, yet the Marshall Liberal Government has done nothing to reverse its $23 million in cuts to the industry.
Businesses in the visitor economy should feel as though they are backed in by their Government, not abandoned.
If Premier Steven Marshall was serious about improving tourism for our local businesses, he would reverse these cuts as a matter of urgency.