Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 07, 2024


Tour Down Under

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:43): The Santos Tour Down Under (TDU) is an iconic highlight of South Australia's annual major events calendar and the biggest cycling event in the southern hemisphere. This year's event had a great atmosphere. The city and the various stage locations were abuzz with that TDU magic that we all know and love. Certainly, from everything that I saw, this year's event was simply brilliant.

South Australia does major events remarkably well. In fact, I think we are getting even better at it year on year, and the Tour Down Under is a particularly good example of South Australia's stand-out achievement in the major events area. The TDU is one of our key events that enjoys a global reach. It garners national and international attention and attracts visitors from around Australia and around the world.

One thing I love about the TDU is that it is not just an Adelaide event. This year, the race went to Murray Bridge, which I am advised is the furthest afield it has ever gone. In terms of continuing to drive the economic recovery of the Riverland it is a great thing, and indeed it brings a welcome economic boost for every locality and region that enjoys a piece of the TDU each year.

This year, I was pleased to attend the opening Saturday evening event. At that event I met two people, Matthew and Emma. They had driven over from Dubbo purely for the race, and they were delighted to be here. Matthew, in particular, is a keen cycling fan and had come to lend his support to one of the cyclists in the women's event who was a Dubbo native. Both Emma and Matthew were thoroughly enjoying their time in Adelaide. They said to me that in fact they were somewhat surprised by just how much they liked Adelaide. This is feedback that we get from many interstaters who are visiting for the first time, and of course we love to hear it.

On this occasion I just could not miss the opportunity to be a good ambassador for the state, and I gave Matthew and Emma some suggestions for things to see and do while they were travelling around, watching the races. Emma mentioned that she loved old buildings and churches, and I took this as an opportunity to invite them in for a tour of Parliament House, an offer they gladly accepted. Emma later said of the Tour Down Under, and I quote, 'The whole event was outstanding and so well done, we haven't stopped raving to people about how well organised it was.'

Emma and Matthew's experience highlights the importance of our major events in building South Australia's reputation as a destination. The TDU's role in showing off our great state, highlighted by the fact that it leaves visitors with an overwhelmingly positive impression of South Australia, is fantastic and should be celebrated. Hopefully, many of the visitors who came for the 2024 Tour Down Under will return in January next year, but in the meantime I expect that they, like Emma and Matthew, will tell their friends and family about what a fantastic event we put on and what a great time they had here.

Towards the end of 2023, South Australia's tourism industry marked the impressive milestone of exceeding $10 billion in total visitor expenditure for the first time. Notably, within that total figure, international expenditure has surpassed its pre-pandemic value to hit a record $1.22 billion. This is fantastic news for our state overall and for our tourism and hospitality sectors in particular.

Major events played a key role in supporting us to reach this achievement. They play a crucial part in maintaining a successful tourism sector in our state and especially in showcasing South Australia to the nation and the world. The uniqueness and character of our major events sets us apart from other jurisdictions, and Labor has a proud history of playing to their strengths which continues apace under the Malinauskas Labor government.

The year 2024 promises to be another brilliant year of major events, with some of the highlights being the second editions of AFL Gather Round and LIV Golf Adelaide, which have both seen very strong demand for tickets. I strongly commend the work of every single person who made the 2024 Tour Down Under happen, and I look forward to continuing to show off our great state at every opportunity.