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RESTRICTIONS EASED FROM TODAY
KANGAROO Island leaders are pleading for South Australians to return to the jewel in the state’s tourism crown as COVID-19 restrictions lift.
Regional travel, camp grounds and caravan parks, outdoor dining at restaurants and cafes for 10 people are among activities given the green light to resume today with social distancing.
KI tourism operators have endured a double blow after devastating bushfires and then the COVID-19 lockdowns brought the industry to a halt.
“I urge people to travel to KI and I urge them to travel around regional South Australia,” said KI Mayor Michael Pengilly. “Our tourism sector was absolutely clobbered by COVID, the farming sector and western tourism sector were clobbered in the fires.
“Hopefully, attractions will be opened, such as Seal Bay, fairly quickly so there is no reason why they shouldn’t come.”
Mr Pengilly, pictured, said the reopening of cafes and restaurants for outdoor dining presented an opportunity for visitors to return to the island, which was green and “looking beautiful”.
KI Tourism Food Wine and Beverage Association chairman Pierre Gregor said operators were keen for visitors.
“We do have a lot to offer despite the bushfires and despite COVID,” he said.
“We still have nature-based activities and then, within the guidance provided by the government, access to some of our local products is available.”
Mr Gregor said a number of areas would progressively open up but it was going to be a slow recovery for the sector.
Premier Steven Marshall said easing the restrictions on regional travel would be welcomed in fire-hit KI and in the Adelaide Hills.
“This is the year to travel in our own backyard,” he said.
“There are still plenty of South Australians who haven’t seen much of regional SA.”
A new SA Tourism Commission ad featuring prominent South Australians, including Adelaide Crows captain Rory Sloane and performer Hans, counting down to “welcome back” intrastate adventures will launch today on social media.
Sealink Travel Group chief executive Clint Feuerherdt said tourism bookings dropped to zero during the crisis because non-essential travel was discouraged.Now the service was hoping for a resurgence.
“We’re eagerly anticipating putting a second vessel back on if the demand is there to justify that,” Mr Feuerherdt said.
“We will be launching some packages soon, self-drive accommodation packages.” He said bus tours remained suspended and there was no progress on a ferry subsidy.
Economic recovery across fire-affected areas of KI and the Adelaide Hills is at the centre of a new $650 million Federal Government package.
The regions will receive a share of $448.5 million to plan and fund projects such as workshops that strengthen wellbeing, help with stock replacement and boost jobs.
Up to $150 million will be injected into species recovery, and $50 million to improve telecommunications, increase mental health support, and help the forestry industry.
In SA, community sport and social clubs affected by the blazes can now apply for grants of up to $20,000 from the SA Bushfire Appeal fund.
It comes as a new report warns the economic recovery from the coronavirus shock will be slow, with unemployment set to linger above precrisis levels until late 2024.
The prediction is outlined in Deloitte’s latest Budget Monitor released today, which forecasts national income and government revenues falling off a cliff. The report urges leaders to accept higher future budget deficits.
HAPPY: Raptor Domain owner Leeza Irwin. READY TO SERVE: Chef Louis Lark at Cactus Cafe, which is opening for outdoor dining in