Arts and cultural tourism targets $1.4 billion by 2025 as festivals flourish

South Australian Tourism Commission

The State Government, together with industry leaders, has today released the South Australian Arts & Cultural Tourism Strategy 2025 which sets an ambitious plan to recover the sector to its pre pandemic high and cement the state’s position as a vibrant arts and culture destination.

The Strategy is launched as a major art exhibition and ballet productions are secured for Adelaide, the Adelaide Fringe gears up for the premiere of Sky Song, Adelaide Festival gets ready to present multiple world and Australian premiere performances, and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is about to welcome audiences to its inaugural Festival of Orchestra – the music of our lives performed over six magical nights under the stars.

Results recently released for the inaugural Illuminate Adelaide and OzAsia Festival are impressive and celebrate a return to live performances and bumper audiences.

Exquisite video portraits of celebrities including Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and Isabella Rossellini will be seen in Australia for the first time in the national-exclusive exhibition Robert Wilson: Moving portraits, opening at the Art Gallery of South Australia in July 2022. This major exhibition will go on display face-to-face with a celebration of Australian portraiture in Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize. Tickets for these exhibitions go on sale today.

The Australian Ballet will bring its powerful and energetic program Counterpointe exclusively to Adelaide in July next year. Counterpointe pairs an excerpt from the elegant 19th-century classic Raymonda with the mesmerising complexity of Artifact Suite, by the radically inventive choreographer William Forsythe, and adds George Balanchine’s beloved Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. 

In addition to recognising and supporting the strong growth in festivals and arts and cultural events this strategy aims to build on the breadth of arts and cultural tourism offerings to ensure there are amazing cultural experiences for visitors no matter when they visit South Australia. This includes a focus on opportunities such as Aboriginal arts and culture, public arts, regional experiences and music in all its forms.

Premier Steven Marshall said arts and cultural tourism generates significant economic and social benefits to the state and the industry-led and endorsed Strategy will help grow the sector to $1.4 billion by 2025.

“South Australia is known for its vibrant arts and culture – it is a driver of visitation and expenditure, and is part of the fabric of our state,” Premier Marshall said.

“Summer wouldn’t be the same without our state’s iconic festivals and now, our winter events are making their own mark.

“With national exclusives secured for Adelaide and strong results having been achieved by festivals delivered during a pandemic, we are building on South Australia’s strengths, giving more reasons to visit and spend in our state, and creating and sustaining jobs across the economy.”

The Arts and Cultural Tourism Strategy 2025 has key inputs from the Arts and Culture Plan South Australia 2019-2024 – the first government plan for the sector in almost two decades – and the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030 which targets $12.8 billion by 2030. Pre COVID, arts and cultural tourism supported 7,500 jobs.

It lists eight strategic goals, including championing Aboriginal arts and cultural offerings in SA, celebrating our state’s cultural identity and promote year-round enjoyment of arts and culture by all visitors.

South Australian Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said the strategy was the result of broad consultation, and acknowledged the huge opportunities for growth. He acknowledged the contributions of the Tourism Industry Council of SA, Arts Industry Council of SA and Festivals Adelaide.  

“More than 300 industry representatives have had their say on the future of arts and cultural tourism in our state. By working together, we can continue to grow this valuable sector for South Australia, and build on our current strengths and unique offerings,” he said.

Arts and cultural tourism sector highlights:

Coming to Adelaide

  • The Golden Cockerel, by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, conducted by Arvo Volmer, Directed by Barry Kosky. An Adelaide Festival international co-production
  • Macro – world premiere of internationally renowned Adelaide based physical theatre company, Gravity and Other Myths
  • Sky Song to premiere at Adelaide Fringe 2022 – a collaboration between First Nations artists and drone art specialists taking over the city’s skyline for 31 nights
  • WOMADelaide returns to its traditional seven-stage format in Adelaide’s Botanic Park in 2022 headlined by Paul Kelly, Courtney Barnett and Baker Boy
  • Adelaide Cabaret Festival returning in June 2022 under new director Tina Arena
  • The Australian Ballet brings exclusively Counterpointe to Adelaide’s Her Majesty Theatre in 8-13 July 2022
  • Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of South Australia in July 2022.
  • Australian premiere and exclusive Robert Wilson: Moving portraits opening at the Art Gallery of South Australia in July 2022.

Event and festival results

  • Adelaide Festival Centre’s OzAsia Festival 2021 returned to live performances and welcomed more than 180,000 attendances across more than 50 events over the 18-day festival
  • Illuminate Adelaide 2021 welcomed more than 500,000 attendees and organisers report the inaugural event generated $30.9 million gross economic activity to SA’s economy, despite multiple weather cancellations and mandated lockdowns.

Arts South Australia director Jennifer Layther said her organisation was pleased to be a partner in the development of the strategy, which both affirms and supports the growth of a strong arts and cultural tourism sector.

“It recognises the strength of South Australia’s artistic community and cultural organisations and the strong appeal that their work holds for visitors to the state,” she said.

“We have long been known for our festivals but South Australians know that our collections, exhibitions, performing and public art, and live music also offer exceptional year round visitor experiences. Having a clear strategy for how to build on and grow the Arts and Cultural tourism sector in this state will help keep us front of mind for cultural travellers, be they regional, domestic or international.”

Art Gallery of South Australia Director Rhana Devenport, ONZM said: “We are thrilled to have the visionary support of the South Australian Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission to present major national and international exhibitions in Adelaide. Through their recently announced support for winter arts and cultural programming, Australian audiences will have the opportunity to experience the mesmerising video portraits of famous faces by the internationally acclaimed Robert Wilson – works never seen in Australia and exclusively in Adelaide. We are also delighted to be welcoming Archie 100, a sublime collection of Archibald Prize artworks never before seen in Adelaide.”

View the South Australian Arts and Cultural Tourism Strategy here.

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