SA Gov pledges to boost tourism funding after warnings of hotel room glut

Following concerns that Adelaide’s luxury hotel market is at risk of oversupply, Premier Steven Marshall says he is willing to match a “huge ambition” from tourism groups to grow South Australia’s visitor economy.

The Government intends to grow the state’s visitor economy by $12.8 billion by 2030 – up from $7.2 billion currently.

Industry bodies including the Australian Hotels Association and SA Tourism Industry Council have cautioned that Adelaide’s rapidly expanding hotel market could lead to a “glut” of empty rooms unless the State Government increased its tourism spending.

Adelaide’s hotel supply is forecast to grow by about 20 per cent by 2021, with up to 4000 new hotel rooms potentially built in Adelaide over the next five years.

Marshall said the Government was “absolutely” aware that it had to invest in the sector but did not elaborate on how much it would spend or when a funding commitment might be made.

“The starting point is having a strategy, an industry-led, government facilitated strategy, to grow the size of our economy,” he said.

“We absolutely accept what is in this document, and that is a huge ambition but it is one we will match, it is one that we will grow. Of course we’re going to be making an investment in that.”

However, Shadow Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Zoe Bettison criticised the Government for reducing the SA Tourism Commission’s marketing budget “to a five-year low” and cutting the overall tourism budget by $12 million over four years.

“The private accommodation sector has decided to invest in South Australian tourism, and the Marshall Liberal Government has turned its back on them,” she said.

“The State Government needs to reverse its cuts to tourism and increase our marketing to the world.”