Legislative Council: Wednesday, September 28, 2022


World Tourism Day

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (17:21): I move:

That this council—

1. Notes that 27 September is World Tourism Day;

2. Supports the sector's strategy to increase South Australia's visitor economy to an annual $12.8 billion by 2030; and

3. Commends the Marshall Liberal government for its investment in infrastructure and marketing to encourage the sector's continuing growth and to help it manage the disruption caused by the loss of international and interstate visitation during COVID-19.

I am delighted to rise today to move this private member's motion to acknowledge World Tourism Day 2022. World Tourism Day is held every year on 27 September by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. UNWTO is a leading international organisation promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability. The UNWTO offers leadership and support to the tourism sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.

This year, the theme for World Tourism Day is Rethinking Tourism, highlighting the opportunity to look to the future and challenge traditional tourism models. Rethinking tourism means putting people and the planet first and bringing stakeholders from governments, businesses and local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector.

We all know the incredible challenges and stress that the global COVID pandemic played on the tourism sector over the last few years. As shadow minister for tourism and hospitality, I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with stakeholders and operators from across the sector and hear firsthand the challenges and opportunities as they see them on the ground. Sustainability, inclusivity and resilience are key themes that are constantly raised as we continue to focus on rebuilding and rebounding from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is absolutely fantastic to see the latest figures from Tourism Research Australia, released yesterday for the year ending June 2022. The report shows that South Australia's recovery is well ahead of the national average. It is important to give credit where credit is due. Thanks to our hardworking tourism sector in South Australia and the policy settings and initiatives established by the former Marshall Liberal government, we are able to have these encouraging results.

The industry praised the Great State Voucher and Regional Visitor Strategy as key initiatives that provide incentives for South Australians to travel and for operators to have the road map for navigating the challenges out of the pandemic. These important measures the former Liberal government invested in help deliver continuous dividends, as total visitor expenditure in South Australia came to $6.2 billion, up from a COVID low of $4.4 billion in March 2021. Recent results show the international visitor spend has also increased to $272 million. We have seen the best interstate spend since the beginning of the pandemic at $1.9 billion and the intrastate spend remained strong at $2.5 billion.

These are all heartening results and certainly make for a wonderful celebration of World Tourism Day in South Australia; however, we still have a long way to go before reaching our pre-pandemic high of $8.9 billion. South Australia has an ambitious target for growing our visitor economy to $12.8 billion by 2030, which is set out in the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan.

This comprehensive plan was launched by the SA Tourism Commission under the former Marshall Liberal government in August 2019, with broad consultation and comprehensive input from the tourism industry. The South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan harnesses resilience, adaptability, innovative thinking and collaboration that will help to build the prosperity of regional tourism.

We know that tourism is one of the world's most important economic sectors, employing one in every 10 people on earth and providing livelihoods to hundreds of millions more. The tourism sector is just as important in South Australia, as it is a key driver of our economy, particularly in our regions. Much of the economic benefits it brings to the state flows to regional communities and has a positive impact on other industries, such as agriculture, wine, retail, education, real estate and transport.

We should take this opportunity today to commend the former Marshall Liberal government for its significant investment in South Australia's tourism industry, supporting businesses, protecting jobs and increasing marketing to boost the number of visitors to our state, filling our hotels, restaurants and shops. Reflecting on what the former Liberal government has achieved, for instance, within two years of coming to government, annual tourism spending had increased from $6.8 billion to $8.1 billion, employing over 40,000 people across 18,000 local businesses.

The Marshall Liberal government built new tourism infrastructure and supported private tourism investment through initiatives such as the $20 million Tourism Industry Development Fund. Through this fund we worked with industry stakeholders and operators which supported a total of 114 regional tourism development projects. Our investment in tourism helped unlock $82.7 million worth of new and improved tourism infrastructure.

Under the leadership of the Marshall Liberal government we also doubled the state's event bid fund to $90 million over four years, enabling South Australia to strategically attract new and more lucrative events to our wonderful state and establish a new and exciting arts festival called Illuminate Adelaide. During the COVID-19 pandemic we stood shoulder to shoulder with businesses, providing millions in direct financial support, and the Great State Voucher scheme saw almost $65 million flow into the pockets of our hardworking operators.

As we know, there are many small businesses operating within the tourism and hospitality sectors. I commend the Marshall Liberal government for scrapping the payroll tax for all small business in South Australia. Our policy benefited more than 3,200 small businesses and more than 135,000 microbusinesses and sole traders in South Australia. We helped businesses to have the confidence to take on more staff, create more jobs, knowing that they will not be hit with extra tax as soon as they employ more South Australians.

While we celebrate the success and aspirations of our fantastic tourism industry on World Tourism Day, it is a timely reminder that we all can do our part to support our dynamic and resilient tourism and hospitality sector to rebuild, to rethink and to reimagine and to have ongoing evaluation and agreement on critical priorities for regeneration and growth in South Australia.

As shadow minister for tourism and hospitality I would like to thank our hardworking and resilient tourism and hospitality sector for their incredible contributions to South Australia. I look forward to being able to continue working closely with our tourism industry to realise opportunities for our state that are outlined in the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan and to rethink how we can work together towards a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient sector. I commend the motion.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. I.K. Hunter.