Tourism strategy to boost regional economy

With one in 32 Barossa jobs supported by the tourism industry, the State Government’s Regional Visitor Strategy will be a key tool to ensure the region’s future prosperity.

The strategy aims to grow regional visitor spending across South Australia by $1 billion – from $2.6 billion to $3.55 billion – and create 1000 jobs by 2020.

“Visitor expenditure in the Barossa was worth $190 million to December 2017, and the strategy is targeting an increase to $273 million by 2020,” Member for Schubert Stephan Knoll said.

“Currently, the 372 tourism businesses across the Barossa are responsible for 800 local jobs.

“This growth in visitation will only increase employment opportunities in the region and encourage small business development.”

The State Government recognises that South Australia’s 11 regions are all different, and so a “one size fits all” approach would not be beneficial.

Instead, an aligned effort will target determined priorities for each region.

“The Regional Visitor Strategy identifies each region’s key strengths and future potential,” Mr Knoll said.

The main priority for driving future growth to the Barossa will be to increase overnight visitation from interstate and overseas markets.

“While the Barossa receives four day-trip visitors for every overnight visitor, overnight visitors deliver two-thirds of the total spend,” Mr Knoll said.

Barossa stats

Accommodation improvements and developments will be crucial to this success.

As a boutique region with strong accommodation yields and high weekend occupancy, there is opportunity to expand this offering.

The strategy will foster the development of an iconic 4- to 5-star accommodation product of scale which can meet unmet demand during major events and for conferences, and will aim to develop 241 new and 27 upgraded rooms (from 3 to 4-star) by 2020.

Regional marketing will seek to leverage the Barossa’s strong brand position as a global wine destination and increase efforts towards key international visitor markets.

The Barossa is home to South Australia’s largest regional festival, the biennial Barossa Vintage Festival, which attracts attendances of 55,000 a year to the region.

Through the strategy, Barossa stakeholders will work towards making the region Australia’s premium regional events destination, and will build on the Vintage Festival and Barossa Gourmet Weekend to increase length of stay and visitor spend.

“We know that the Barossa leads the way when it comes to creating experiences, and this is another area the strategy looks to build upon,” Mr Knoll said.

A “sweet” agritourism venture, the Barossa Valley Chocolate Company at Tanunda, is one project which will attract a new wave of visitors to the region.

It will showcase the best in local food and wine alongside a selection of gourmet chocolates.

“I can’t wait to get a taste of the Barossa’s next culinary delight,” Mr Knoll (pictured above with Barossa Valley Chocolate Company's Chris Day) said.

The project will include the introduction of a chocolatier kitchen, cafe and cellar door. Between 20 and 30 full-time ongoing jobs will be created on completion, along with up to 15 during construction.

Mr Knoll said industry support would also help service providers to take power into their own hands.

“By increasing the industry’s capabilities when it comes to international marketing and distribution, we will be empowering local stakeholders to help attract more visitors to one of the world’s best regions.”

To view the South Australian Regional Visitor Survey, visit tourism.sa.gov.au.