Business Activity & Outlook Fall from Recent Highs – SATIC Tourism Barometer March 2018

27 April 2018


The SATIC Tourism Barometer survey for the March quarter of 2018 found that tourism performance, while still positive, declined in comparison to the previous quarter by 13% to 119 points.

The short-term outlook index was also down by 13% to 126 points.

The operators felt that positive drivers for the quarter were the events season, the number of cruise boats coming to Adelaide and an early Easter this year. Demand from international and interstate visitor markets was also strong.

The Fringe Festival continues to go from strength to strength with the number of tickets sold exceeding 700,000 – an increase of more than 7% from last year. The Adelaide 500 also had a good year with attendances up from 2017.

The number of cruise boats into South Australia over the 2017/18 season (to March 30) was up by 24% - with 16 additional visits.

The extreme heat during the month of January, particularly throughout the Tour Down Under week, may have impacted attendances at that event. The hot weather may also have dampened regional touring to some extent.

Other factors cited by operators that may have had an adverse effect were the impact of increased competition by AirBnB and the State election held in March.

While the outlook for the next three months was also down, the outlook was supported by events, including the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) in Adelaide and the Special Olympics National Games.

On the aviation front the supply of seats continues to grow with a new service between Adelaide and Newcastle as of March, while Malaysian Airlines has announced a fifth weekly service to Kuala Lumpur as of July.

The proportion of operators reporting that they had employed additional staff was 24% - again somewhat down from the December quarter (36%). ABS Labour Force figures for the month of February 2018 showed an increase of 4% in the number of persons employed in the accommodation and food services sector when compared to the same time last year.

SATIC Chief Executive Officer Shaun de Bruyn said that while the SATIC Barometer for the March quarter was down, conditions for tourism are positive with the industry reporting solid performance on the back of another successful events season.

“With Adelaide having just hosted ATE for the first time since 2010 and other business events in the pipeline for the new $400 million Adelaide Convention Centre, the industry is looking forward to continued growth in 2018,” says Shaun.

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