Legislative Council: Wednesday, November 15, 2023



Tourism Industry Council South Australia

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (16:45): I move:

That this council—

1. Notes that the Tourism Industry Council South Australia (TiCSA) is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation with over 1,000 members that was established in 2009;

2. Recognises the important work of the TiCSA as a strong voice for South Australia's tourism industry;

3. Acknowledges the outstanding contributions by TiCSA in its advocacy and business development work in the areas of building capabilities, sustainability and bringing together South Australia's diverse tourism industry to a growing visitor economy;

4. Congratulates awards finalists and winners of the South Australian Tourism Awards for their outstanding achievements, success and contributions to South Australia; and

5. Recognises the economic importance of tourism to South Australia's economy, and the social benefits and community impact it has for the people of South Australia.

It is a great honour today to move this motion and recognise the outstanding work by the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia, fondly known as TiCSA. I have outlined on a number of occasions previously in parliament the importance of the tourism sector to South Australia. It is a great honour once again to have this opportunity to recognise the economic importance of tourism to South Australia's economy and the social benefit and community impact it has for the people of South Australia.

The visitor economy is an important driver of the state's economy. Much of the economic benefit it brings to the state flows to regional communities, and it has a positive impact on other industries, such as agriculture, wine, retail, education, real estate and transport. Tourism is a key growth sector in South Australia. The tourism industry employs around 40,000 South Australians. The total South Australian visitor expenditure for the year ending June 2023, combining international and domestic expenditure, came to $9.9 billion.

Thanks to a peak body like TiCSA and all the hardworking businesses and operators of our resilient tourism sector, we are well on track to achieve what is set out in its 2030 target of $12.8 billion. The target is adopted within the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030. It was with the great support of the whole of the tourism industry that the Visitor Economy Sector Plan was launched in August 2019 under the Marshall Liberal government. The plan sets a bold ambition to grow our visitor economy to $12.8 billion by 2030, generating 52,000 jobs. I am very pleased that the Labor government has also committed to this sector plan.

The motion today recognises the important work of TiCSA as a strong voice for South Australia's tourism industry. TiCSA is recognised as a tourism peak body, a not-for-profit membership base organisation which has represented over 1,100 members since it was established in 2009. Out of those members, 542 are accredited members and 120 of those are star-rated members.

Members come from 12 tourism regions in South Australia. These beautiful regions are: Adelaide; Adelaide Hills; Barossa; Clare Valley; Eyre Peninsula; Fleurieu Peninsula; Flinders Ranges and outback; Kangaroo Island; Limestone Coast; Murray River, Lakes and Coorong; Yorke Peninsula; and Riverland. Out of the 12 tourism regions in South Australia, I would like to take a moment to highlight two regions that have received worldwide attention and that deserve to be acknowledged today.

Firstly, Adelaide. Many honourable members will feel that it is pretty cool to be living in the coolest city in Australia. Adelaide was crowned Australia's coolest city by a major US media outlet—yes, by the Wall Street Journal—for its world-class selection of restaurants, nearby wineries and picturesque landscapes. Of course, we have known all along that our beautiful city combines compact charm and world-class cuisine. It is great to know that Adelaide has now been recognised on the world stage.

The other tourism region that is definitely worth a mention today is Kangaroo Island. Less than three weeks ago, Kangaroo Island was named by the global travel authority Lonely Planet in its 2024 top regions hot list as one of the world's top destinations to visit, and Kangaroo Island is the only Australian destination to make the list.

The Lonely Planet list aims to inspire potential travellers to plan a holiday in 2024, focusing on trending travel sectors like ecotourism and slow travel. I take this opportunity to convey my heartfelt congratulations to everyone on Kangaroo Island for building the enviable reputation and give a big-shout out to some 130 establishments on Kangaroo Island that accommodate guests. Many of those operators are members of the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia.

As the shadow minister for tourism and hospitality, it is a great privilege to work closely with our state peak body for tourism. It is great to see the TiCSA board and the team at TiCSA, who are passionate about their work, working really hard for their members to deliver and achieve the true primary objectives, which is advocacy and business development. At each level, TiCSA provides various events and workshops, programs and accreditation, advocacy and business tools.

Leadership, Mr President, as you know, is crucial to any successful organisation, and I would like to pay tribute to a number of key leaders who have been a driving force for TiCSA. First, I would like to mention Eoin Loftus. Eoin has nearly 30 years' experience in developing and operating tourism accommodation businesses across South Australia, and he has established his own consultancy business in Loftus Business Advisory and Hotel Refurbs in 2022.

Eoin has been leading the charge of the tourism industry, most recently as CEO of South Australian owned and operated Majestic Hotels and Apartments. Eoin has for the past nine years served voluntarily on the board of the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia, serving in the capacity of chairman of the board for the past six years, including navigating the unprecedented and difficult global coronavirus period.

Since 2022, Eoin has served on the South Australian Tourism Commission board and, more recently in June 2023, has joined the Zoos SA board, incorporating the new Monarto Safari Park hotel development. As the outgoing chair, I would like to place my sincere thanks on the public record to Eoin for his passion to serve the tourism industry and acknowledge his wonderful leadership at TiCSA.

TiCSA welcomed the new chair, Siggi Frede. It was great to see her acknowledgement of Eoin's leadership in her AGM statement, as well as at the recent tourism awards night. I would like to quote Siggi. She said:

In particular, I recognise Eoin's leadership and dedication to the board of the past nine years, with six years in the role of Chair, which has been instrumental in shaping the success of TiCSA. Just some of his many achievements include:

doubling TiCSA's membership number of his time on the board.

doubled our resources to deliver triple the value to industry.

TiCSA working effectively with all levels of government.

The best thing about our industry is our people, and Eoin is one of the best and has always been working towards the greater good of the industry.

I concur with those words from Siggi. I look forward to working with the new chair, Siggi Frede, who is the managing director of Effektiver, a boutique strategic tourism consultancy company in South Australia. I am confident that the new chair will bring lots of energy to her role at TiCSA. My best wishes to Siggi as well as vice-chair Penny Gale and all the other high-calibre board members as they undertake their roles to help deliver the great ambitions set by the Tourism Industry Council.

The TiCSA Board is well supported by the chief executive officer, Shaun De Bruyn. Shaun has been a dedicated industry advocate with 20 years' experience in delivering strong outcomes across leisure, travel and the tourism industry within South Australia. His knowledge and expertise, combined with his diverse skills and genuine passion for the industry, has enabled Shaun to take on the role as CEO of TiCSA since 2015.

He is doing a fantastic job to build relationships with members as well as other important stakeholders, including government ministers and shadow ministers. The Hon. David Speirs, Leader of the Opposition, and myself enjoy working closely with Shaun and his team. We deeply appreciate his knowledge, his advice and advocacy work for TiCSA. Through Shaun's leadership and with the support of his friendly and professional team, they are doing a remarkable job promoting TiCSA's mission and the organisation is recognised as a strong industry body.

Some of the key advocacy efforts and business development programs by TiCSA include the Quality Tourism Framework, which combines tourism accreditation, star ratings and the Australian Tourism Awards program into a single pathway for business development. They have also been very successful in organising the Tourism Awards Program gala dinner, the State Tourism Conference, training and workshops, and Talking Tourism networking events.

TiCSA has been and is a key advocate for tourism businesses and it delivers so many activities to support the industry. As we all know, South Australia offers stunning landscapes, world-class food and beverages, immersive experiences and experiential accommodation. Adelaide offers the sophistication of a global city while maintaining an ease of access which is the envy of more congested cities.

I now turn my attention to the prestigious South Australian Tourism Awards, which are proudly presented annually by the Tourism Industry Council. This year, once again, the South Australian Tourism Awards celebrate and acknowledge tourism businesses that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and success throughout the year.

I would like to convey my personal congratulations to this year's 31 category winners, four Hall of Fame inductees, and the silver and bronze medallists recognised at the gala dinner that was held on Friday 3 November. It was a great honour to attend the awards gala, along with the Governor of South Australia, ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. David Speirs, and the member for Hammond, Adrian Pederick. It was a spectacular evening to celebrate the success and achievements of all those outstanding awards recipients.

I take this opportunity to mention a few of them today. Congratulations to Monarto Safari Park for winning the top prize in the Major Tourist Attractions category as well as the Voters' Choice Award. Monarto was recognised for the unparalleled experience it provides as the largest safari experience outside of Africa and for its support of the tourism industry in the surrounding region. It was fantastic to catch up with Elaine Bensted, CEO of Zoos SA, and Peter Clarke, director of Monarto Safari Park, at the Tourism Awards night to personally congratulate them and their team for their most amazing work.

The Voters' Choice Awards, determined through the enthusiastic support and votes from their visitors, local communities and supporters, added an exciting layer to the evening's celebrations. With an impressive tally of nearly 20,000 votes cast across all finalists, two standout winners emerged. Monarto Safari Park claimed the coveted Voters' Choice Award for Experience and/or Service. BIG4 Renmark Riverfront Holiday Park received accolades as the Voters' Choice Award Winner for Accommodation.

I also had the pleasure of catching up with Mark Koolmatrie and his family on the night. Everyone who was there would remember Mark's speech most fondly because it was heartwarming and delivered in Mark's very unique style that no-one can ever emulate. Mark is the founder and operator of Kool Tours, which won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Tourism Experiences category. Kool Tours is a family-owned and operated business delivering unforgettable immersive Aboriginal experiences with complete cultural authority throughout Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island. It was really great to catch up not only with Mark but his family on the night—a very ecstatically happy family who certainly operate an amazing tourism business in South Australia.

I would also like to give a special shout-out to Ian Horne, former CEO of AHA(SA). The Outstanding Achievement Award was fittingly bestowed on Ian Horne, the dedicated CEO of the Australian Hotels Association SA, who retired this year. The award recognises his unwavering commitment and leadership spanning nearly four decades. Ian has made a significant impact on the tourism industry and has been a source of inspiration, influencing advocacy and leadership at the industry, government policy and sector level. It was wonderful to see Ian on stage, articulating the achievements of the tourism industry through his eyes and his personal journey of lifetime dedication to the tourism industry. It was a very well-deserved award for Ian.

Among the standout moments of the evening were the well-deserved inductions into the South Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame. Four outstanding business across the state earned this esteemed recognition for securing the global medal in their respective categories for the third consecutive year. The distinguished inductees into the Hall of Fame include The Cedars Hahndorf in the Cultural Tourism category; Bendleby Ranges, for their exceptional contributions to adventure tourism; Woodhouse Adventure Park, for its unique accommodation offerings; and Naiko Retreat, for excellence in self-contained accommodation.

It is truly an honour and a privilege to highlight the work of TiCSA today in parliament. With those remarks, I commend the motion.

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