South Australian Tourism has had a cracking year and plans for an even bigger 2018

RodneyHarrexInterview

20 December 2017

Tourism Partners interviews South Australian Tourism Commission Chief Executive Rodney Harrex regarding the 2018 outlook

TP
What are the big ADL aviation priorities?

RH
Continue to build on our fantastic achievements in this space. In less than 18 months South Australia has welcomed direct flights from international carriers Qatar Airways, China Southern Airlines and Fiji Airways. On the domestic front, Jetstar commenced direct flights between Adelaide and Hobart in November, while QantasLINK begins year-round flights from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island and seasonal flights from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island in December.

TP
How do you see the international markets performing for SA?

RH
We’ve enjoyed growth in our international markets during 2017 with international expenditure in South Australia cracking the $1 billion mark for the first time. China in particular has done great things with 56,000 visits and $352 million in expenditure as of June 2017. This is an increase of 56 per cent and 74 per cent respectively when compared to June 2016.

TP
How will disruptive technology impact the SA tourism industry?

RH
Tourism is such a diverse industry and disruptive technology is part and parcel of the eco-system. The customer will always seek the best value proposition and tourism operators constantly need to update their offering to deliver what customers want.

TP
Which big infrastructure investments will have the greatest impact on the SA visitor experience?

RH
Adelaide Oval which is the venue for international events such as The Ashes, the Adelaide Convention Centre redevelopment which will further grow business events in our state and the Riverbank Precinct upgrades. Private investment in new accommodation also offers visitors greater choice.

TP
Looking at the SA 2018 events calendar, which ones will have the biggest impact for regional SA tourism?

RH
Adelaide is the gateway to our beautiful regions. When visitors come here for the world-class events we host like WOMADelaide, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide 500, Santos Tour Down Under and Tasting Australia, they can easily include a trip to our regions as they are so accessible. South Australia offers a year-round calendar of events so visitors are spoilt for choice. There are a range of regional events on in 2018 including Crush Festival in the Adelaide Hills, FloatFest on the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong and the Melrose Fat Tyre Festival in the Flinders Ranges and Outback.

TP
The Santos Tour Down Under will celebrate 20 years in 2018, what are you planning to mark the milestone?

RH
The TDU is the first race of the prestigious UCI World Tour season and we are thrilled to be celebrating 20 years in 2018. We have world cycling champions such as Peter Sagan competing which is very exciting. The 2018 Santos Women’s Tour has been ranked as a 2.1 class race on the UCI international calendar (up from UCI 2.2) making it one step closer to achieving the long-term goal of World Tour status. This year’s Legend’s Night Dinner has confirmed past general classification winners Stuart O’Grady, Gilles Maignan, Michael Rogers, Patrick Jonker and Allan Davis as special guests.

TP
What SA cellar door is doing great things in tourism?

RH
South Australia has a great variety of wine. There are 18 wine regions to choose from and more than 200 cellar doors within an hour of the city. The d’Arenberg Cube in McLaren Vale is a unique tourism offering that is well worth checking out in 2018.

TP
South Australian Tourism Student of the Year, Kelsey Reilly is a student at the University of South Australia, studying a Bachelor of Business, specialising in Tourism and Event Management – what advice would you offer her?

RH
Always strive for excellence. Customer service is paramount in tourism.

TP
If you could take a SA tourism industry study group to anywhere in the world to see game changing tourism in action, where would that be and why? (country, city or region)

RH
Austin, Texas – it is Adelaide’s Sister City and offers an eclectic culture and vibrant live music scene set against a back drop of beautiful landscapes with desert blooms and amazing sunsets.

TP
What trends in global environmental protection will impact, for better or worse, SA tourism?

RH
South Australia’s nature is like no-where else in the world so it’s great to see the focus on eco-tourism and sustainability. We have a range of nature-based experiences such as shark cage diving off the Eyre Peninsula, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail and the Lions 360 experience at Monarto Zoo. The State Government is currently seeking expressions of interest for new nature-based tourism business opportunities so watch this space.

On a lighter note ….

TP
If stranded in the Amazon and you could have just one bottle of SA wine delivered by drone what would it be?

RH
Penfolds Grange, one of the most renowned, award winning wines.

TP
If you were invited on stage to sing at Adelaide Fringe festival how would the MC introduce you and your choice of song?

RH
I don’t sing.

TP
When traveling around regional SA what’s your hidden gem for coffee?

RH
I am not a coffee drinking, but if I was it would be Mahalia Coffee from Robe on the Limestone Coast. My wife loves the coffee there.

TP
If you were home cooking your favourite SA produce what would you be making?

RH
Premium South Australian seafood on the BBQ or a nice piece of steak. Or both, surf and turf.

TP
Calypso Star Charters won gold at the recent SA tourism awards ….have you had a go at Shark Cage Diving and Swimming with Sea Lions?

RH
Yes, shark cage diving is a once in a lifetime experience.

TP
Having travelled long haul often what are your tips for beating jet lag?

RH
Stay awake and sync in with the local time. It can be challenging but worth it in the end.

TP
The one thing you always pack when travelling?

RH
My iPad.

TP
If driving north towards the SA/NT border and you could pick your dream car what would it be?

RH
Audi SUV

TP
Christmas is just around the corner. How will spend the day and holiday?

RH
With family and friends while enjoying the best South Australian produce: Spencer Gulf prawns, Adelaide Hills cherries and Clare Valley wine to name a few…

TP
What are you reading (kindle or paper) and/or watching on Netflix?

RH
The Ozarks

SATC

Rodney Harrex

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