Operators hope for tourism bonanza when SA borders reopen

Limestone Coast tourism operators are gearing up for an influx of tourists when the South Australian border opens on November 23.

Key points:Tourism operators hope SA border opening will revive the interstate tourism tradeGrey nomads and caravanners are expected to returnOperators says intrastate visitors kept coastal tourism towns afloat during the pandemic

Despite some concerns COVID-19 will creep into the state, businesses operating near the South Australian-Victorian border say they are looking forward to a tourism boom.

Linda Hay, who operates tourism attraction Echo Farm at Mount Gambier, said she was hoping tourists from Victoria would flow across the state partition when borders opened.

"We're hoping to get visitors from Victoria. Around 50 per cent of our market is Victorian, and we've really missed them," Ms Hay said.

"We are looking forward to an influx of tourists.

"I'm sure the people that have been locked down in New South Wales and Victoria in particular, are really looking forward to getting out and travelling."

Woman feeds donkey.
Echo Farm owner Linda Hay is hopeful interstate visitors will have the travel bug when the SA border reopens.(ABC South East SA: Sandra Morello)

But she said some people were too scared to book in advance.

"So the last eight months, we've hardly had any forward bookings," she said.

Caravans on the move

Blue Lake Holiday Park Julie Cowley manager said she was looking forward to the number of caravanners increasing once borders opened.

"The only thing we've really noticed is the caravanners are not there," Ms Cowley said.

"The grey nomads who usually hit the road and travel throughout the year, that's what we're missing at the moment more than anything."

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She said the Mount Gambier tourist park had remained busy during the border closures in large part to South Australian travellers.

"We had a huge influx last year because of South Australians being allowed to travel," Ms Cowley said.

"Generally, the Christmas school holidays are busy. So, we're hoping that's going to be the same this year."

Woman kneels in sand at the edge of a children's playground.
Blue Lake Holiday Park gardener Jacquie Ey is looking forward to an influx of interstate visitors.(ABC South East: Jack Evans)

Coastal tourism boom

Robe District Council tourism and events manager Molly Murdock said the popular seaside tourist town was expecting a rush of visitors when borders opened.

"Accommodation providers have already seen an influx of booking enquiries coming through, particularly from Victorians," Ms Murdock said.

She said the support of South Australians travelling within the state had helped keep Robe tourism operators in business.

"In Robe, we have seen a great number of South Australians visiting Robe for the first time ever," Ms Murdock said.

"We anticipate that they will become frequent Robe visitors which is great for our town.

"Our Spendmapp by Geographia data shows us that in 2020/21 we saw an increase of approximately $24 million spent in Robe compared to the previous financial year.

"Visitor spending actually increased by approximately 62 per cent in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, so overall as a whole, Robe benefited economically," she said.

Posted 9 Nov 20219 Nov 2021Tue 9 Nov 2021 at 8:15pmShareCopy linkFacebookTwitterArticle share optionsShare this onFacebookTwitterLinkedInSend this byEmailMessengerCopy linkWhatsApp


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