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October ‘best month ever’ for SA regional accommodation

More rooms were occupied in regional South Australia in October than in any month on record, according to the state government, with school holidays and the long weekend to thank.

Nov 29, 2023, updated Jan 31, 2024
Kangaroos on Kangaroo Island. Photo: South Australian Tourism Commission/supplied

Kangaroos on Kangaroo Island. Photo: South Australian Tourism Commission/supplied

More than 146,000 rooms were occupied in October – nearly 20,000 more than in the same month pre-pandemic, according to the state government.

Driven by school holiday and long weekend travel as well as thousands of visitors to the state for the Australian Masters Games, the record builds on 22 consecutive months of growth for regional accommodation providers.

The state government said since the start of 2022 regional SA accommodation occupancy has exceeded pre-COVID levels every month.

Three major wine regions – Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Clare Valley – also celebrated record highs, with more rooms occupied across the regions in October than in any other month before.

US-based STR compiled the data independently, and records began in October 2018.

“What terrific news for regional South Australia, as we celebrate the best month ever for regional accommodation in our state,” Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison said.

“More rooms occupied in regional South Australia than any other month before it, and 22 consecutive months of room bookings in the regions exceeding levels prior to the pandemic.

“These brilliant results are thanks to continued strength in intrastate and interstate visitation and the recovering international market, and they demonstrate real demand for experiencing regional South Australia.”

Per the data, all regions saw rooms occupied exceed pre-pandemic levels, with the Limestone Coast up 33 per cent on October 2019 and the regions of Flinders Ranges, Murray River Lakes, Coorong and the Riverland all up 21 per cent.

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The news comes after the travel period for South Australian Tourism Commission’s River Revival Voucher program closed last Friday.

Further, applications for the $300,000 Mid Murray River Tourism Business Support Program – part of the state government’s river tourism recovery plan – closed in mid-November.

The government said 14 applications were received from tourism operators in the region, and details of successful grant recipients will be announced soon.

The $55 million rebuild of Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge is also set to open this week, which Bettison hoped would continue to draw more visitors from across the world to KI.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep driving strong demand, through initiatives like the River Revival Voucher program which has supported the river regions to recover from the impacts of last summer’s flood to the Regional Event Fund helping strengthen our state’s events calendar,” she said.

“I’m thrilled to see the iconic Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island soon reopen to guests, which will once again draw visitors from around the world to experience this award-winning region.”

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