Holiday Here is the current messaging being used by SA Tourism, urging South Aussies to get out and about safely during this time of Covid. Heading up the SA Tourism Commission is Rodney Harrex, our guest this week.

The SA Drink Of The Week is 2016 Reilly’s Shiraz.

And in the musical pilgrimage we have a track from John O’Dea.

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Running Sheet: We’re all going on an SA holiday

00:00:00 Intro

Introduction to the show.

00:02:01 SA Drink Of The Week

The SA Drink Of The Week is 2016 Reilly’s Clare Valley Shiraz.

00:06:09 Rodney Harrex

I grew up in Adelaide in the 70s and one of the most popular things to do was going for a Sunday afternoon drive through the Adelaide Hills or maybe down to Victor. As time progressed to the 90s and naughties, cheap flights led to the travel bug luring many of us interstate and overseas, and then suddenly the Covid pandemic slammed our borders shut. Hence, today, SA Tourism’s current slogan is Holiday Here, and those such quaint, Sunday arvo drives have now evolved into Shorts, or Getaways, or visits to the Regions, with the expectation being that we now stay overnight and go cellar door hopping, kayaking, and rediscovering our dreamy coastal beaches.

To take us back to this future, we have the SA Tourism Commission’s CEO, Rodney Harrex.

Rod, where you grew up, was there a culture of Sunday afternoon drives? Or some other “tourism light” routine?

We’re going to be talking a lot about getting South Aussies to travel around SA, but I’d like to start by comparing that challenge to the one you faced at Tourism Australia, where you were General Manager, UK and Northern Europe, and working hard to attract overseas visitors to Australia?

What prompted me to seek you out for this chat was my desire to apologise to the SATC publicly. I’d always harboured a thought that people working in a nice office in the city, in a beautiful state, with some pretty passionate tourism operators, it would be easy to coast on the coat tails of decades of momentum, etc. Then we had the bushfires over summer 2019/2020, followed by the Covid pandemic, and then, like a phoenix arising from the ashes, I saw some very smart and very effective marketing to start stimulating tourism activity, firstly in fire-affected areas, and then statewide and within the CBD. Can you share your memories of that journey from your perspective?

There are a couple of tourism campaigns I’d like to throw some extra light on. The first is #bookthemout. This was the push to aid bushfire recovery. It seemed to tap a nerve with South Aussies who all felt gutted by the fires on behalf of those affected. Was that insight based on instinct or did you run some consumer research?

The other was the work on the travel vouchers. I was lucky enough to have a front row seat for the recent round of vouchers, and saw the flood of bookings that followed. Where did this idea come from and what are you hoping to achieve?

There’s always a risk, when businesses drop prices or give things away, that they train consumers to expect such deals into the future. Are there safeguards in the voucher scheme to avoid this OR is it still an emergency situation and you’re breaking the glass to stimulate visitation?

I think I can see one silver lining to Covid. Many operators have moved quickly to get touchless bookings and checkins. That’s got to be healthy for the future. Yes?

I hinted at some differences between Sunday afternoon drives and the messaging of the Holiday Here campaign. Can you define the differences more clearly and perhaps outline some of the economic impact of the push to have us stay overnight vs the day trip?

I have a confession to make. I recently had a week-long staycation at Moana and had some fun going around to different places with my daughter. But it’s only while researching for this interview that I looked at the excellent itineraries and “top 5” lists on SouthAustralia.com, that would have helped me come up with some even better things to do. How odd am I? Or is there an obstinant South Aussie who thinks they know everything?

Who is the “south aussie” traveller who makes it worth your while to target because they drive the biggest spend?

How important are grey nomads? I was recently in Burra, and the place was alive with older people and I heard talk that towns that develop dumping stations, attract nomads by the hundreds. However, I hear other people say they tend to buy a packet of biscuits from the local IGA, some instant coffee, and they make their own lunches.

You mentioned that caravan bookings are up. What’s driving that?

At the Visitor Information Centre state conference, after you’d mentioned the demand for caravans, I made a joke about having a few remaining days left of being able to drive at the speed limit before the next round of vans appeared – and it went down like a led ballon. How important are caravans but equally is there a case for teaching slower vehicles to routinely let other traffic past them?

If I’m a small operator and I see other operators featured on the SA Tourism site, what can I do to muscle in on the action. For example, is that out of the reach of a small, b&b operator in Robe?

00:38:26 Musical Pilgrimage

In the musical pilgrimage, we have a fitting song from John O’Dea, entitled, Under A Parachilna Sunset. Follow John on Instagram.

Here’s this week’s preview video

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free SFX from freesfx.co.uk for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal SFX, the wine pouring and cork pulling SFX, and the swooshes around Siri.