South Australia’s border restrictions for visitors from New South Wales and the ACT will remain in place until further notice.
Premier Steven Marshall has confirmed that the state’s Transition Committee decided this morning that SA’s border restrictions with both states would not be lifted on Monday, 20 July as originally planned.
Mr Marshall cited the committee’s concerns about the “super spreader event” in NSW, and unease of rising COVID-19 cases interstate.
“We don’t want to go backwards. We are being cautious. We don’t want to have to put additional restrictions in place,” he said.
“We know that this is going to be very inconvenient for people who perhaps have already made plans, but our primary responsibility is for the health, safety and welfare of all South Australians.”
I know this will impact many South Australians, both those tourism operators looking to welcome interstate visitors but also on a personal level, as many of us have friends and families in NSW or the ACT.
The decision to protect South Australians from a possible second wave is a sound one, and is based on the advice of health experts. I have been out in the regions, and a lot of businesses have told me opening borders “it is not worth the risk”. Pleasingly, we are seeing a record number of South Australians out and about these school holidays, supporting local operators. Many of the regions are reporting strong bookings – not just for these holidays but solid bookings well into the future.
With the border restrictions in place, we will keep pushing the message that spending money in South Australia will make a huge difference to all of the regions and businesses that rely on the tourist dollar.
The SATC had planned to launch an interstate campaign next week to align with the easing of border restrictions. This will now be revised so that we can activate appropriately in the markets that are open (such as Queensland) as well as be primed and ready to go for when the other states and territories are back online. At this point, the Northern Territory is still looking to open its borders to South Australia on Friday, which is encouraging for those businesses in the north of the state as we’d expect the self-drive market to hit the road, and two-way traffic returning.
Our activity in the New Zealand market continues, and we are hearing lots of positive feedback about the high level of demand from Kiwis actively planning their next trip to SA. It is important we stay ahead of the curve over there, as each state will be jockeying for position to capture New Zealanders wanting to take advantage of a possible “trans Tasman bubble”.
I’m continuing my regional visits this month, heading to the Barossa, Clare Valley, and Murray River, Lakes and Coorong with our SATC chair Andrew Bullock. Earlier this month, we were on Eyre Peninsula. It was also wonderful to see a new product being developed by Chris and Linda Hank of Pure Coffin Bay Oysters, giving visitors to Coffin Bay a first-hand experience at their oyster farm. Their new boat (pictured above) will be launched in October and will carry around 36 passengers. Well done to Linda and Chris for their vision and commitment to this exciting project.
I look forward to catching up with some of you on our upcoming visits, and talking first-hand about how we can assist in the reboot of our vital sector.
See the Industry Update – 14 July 2020 here.