03 February 2009

South Australia's tourism set to withstand economic fallout

Experts have suggested that the South Australian tourism industry – as well as the general state economy – would withstand the global economic slowdown, reports ABC News.

Across Australia, thousands of jobs in the tourism industry are expected to get the axe because of the financial crisis, and almost two-thirds of tourism companies will have to cut back staff, according to a report from the Tourism and Transport Forum.

The Forum, however, believe that South Australia would continue to do well.

"Everyone's under pressure at the moment but I think South Australia is best placed to weather the storm of economic downturn," he said.

"We're not as reliant on international business, which has been significantly affected and anecdotally over the Christmas-New Year period, a lot of our regions and Adelaide have done pretty well."

In related news, the South Australia Tourism Commission last month launched a new tourism campaign that will feature competition-winning travellers from the UK.

The campaign will feature British backpackers to star in promotional commercials to be sent to the UK via blog.  The new "Stars of South Australia" will capture the essence of backpacking in South Australia.  The first of these commercials, featuring 25-year-old Londoners Henry Mackintosh and Anna Nesbitt travelling on an Australian working visa, showed snippets of camel riding across the Nullarbor, tasting wines in the Barossa and feeding pelicans on Kangaroo Island.

"Anna and I had never been to Australia and our friends had only been to the east coast," Mr Mackintosh told The Advertiser.

"I would absolutely recommend South Australia and Adelaide to my friends (now) - it was mind-blowing." 

More than 300 entries and 27,000 website hits have proven the success of the campaign, which organisers hope will lure more backpackers from the UK to the paths less travelled in Australia, such as Adelaide. 

"It primarily was aimed at the backpackers and adventure market; in the current economic climate, they are a strong market because people will be looking to take a gap year or get away from it," SATC UK-based marketing manager Neil Saunders said.

Most backpackers in Australia are holders of the Australian working holiday visa.  The Australian working holiday visa allows young travellers aged 18 to 30 years to work and travel the country for up to 12 months.  Conditions of the visa mean that visa holders cannot work for one employer for longer than six months.  Those who work in a specified occupation in regional Australia for three months or more are now also allowed to apply for a second working holiday visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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