Fund plans to boost appeal of rural areas

Fund plans to boost appeal of rural areas

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SA Tourism chief executive Rodney Harrex, Regional Visitor Strategy steering committee chair Helen Edwards; and Sealink's Peter Abbott, when a 2025 RVS workshop was held in Kingscote last week.

SA Tourism chief executive Rodney Harrex, Regional Visitor Strategy steering committee chair Helen Edwards; and Sealink's Peter Abbott, when a 2025 RVS workshop was held in Kingscote last week.

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SA's regional tourism sector is set to be boosted by the new $20-million Tourism Industry Development Fund, which will provide grants to establish or improve regional accommodation and tourism experiences.

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SA's regional tourism sector is set to be boosted by the new $20-million Tourism Industry Development Fund, which will provide grants to establish or improve regional accommodation and tourism experiences.

The TIDF was launched last week, and will provide state government-funded grants between $20,000 and $500,000 towards 30 per cent of the cost of a total project's value.

Running until March 31, 2022, or until all funds have been allocated, SA Premier and Tourism Minister Steven Marshall said regional tourism would play a major role in rebuilding the state's visitor economy.

"We already know 43 cents in every tourism dollar is spent in our regions and early indications show this fund will create around 1400 ongoing direct tourism jobs," he said.

"We want to ensure that regional tourism businesses are supported to improve and diversify their offering so they can remain sustainable, increase visitor demand, and have visitors linger for longer."

The TIDF has come under scrutiny from SA Labor, with concerns regarding small businesses potentially being unable to raise enough funds to access a grant.

Accessing a minimum $20,000 grant would mean nearly $50,000 of a business's own money would need to be put towards the project, but SA Tourism Commission chief executive Rodney Harrex said the 30pc government contribution had been set to allow the funding to be spread widely.

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"We want these funds to be available to as many businesses as possible. There are a lot of businesses looking to invest because they've had a strong level of uptake in terms of visitation," he said.

Mr Harrex said the TIDF launch coincided well with the 2025 SA Regional Visitor Strategy, which was under development and set to be released early next year.

Following the success of the 2020 SARVS, 14 of 15 workshops have been held across SA to seek feedback to develop the 2025 strategy, with the final workshop to be held in Coober Pedy next week.

Workshop attendee feedback, together with 624 responses received prior to the workshops, will be compiled, followed by consultation with the state government, PIRSA and the arts community, among others.

"We'll be focused around what will get visitors to spend more time and money in the regions, to continue to drive visitation, and taking note of what the new consumer coming out of COVID-19 is looking for," Mr Harrex said.

  • Details: tourism.sa.gov.au

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