Tourism is booming in regional areas as South Australians opt to explore their own backyard as borders remain closed.

Key points:

  • Clare Valley has recorded a growth visitor expenditure of $134 million
  • The region has already reached its 2025 tourism target
  • Travellers are opting for more site seeing and short walks 

The Clare Valley, about 100 kilometres north of Adelaide, has recorded strong visitor numbers with tourism expenditure reaching $134 million — the region’s 2025 target.

In the year to March 2021, the region recorded 171,000 day trips and 210,000 overnight stays, according to the South Australian Tourism Commission. 

Clare Valley Tourism Centre manager Tania Graham said tourists wanted to stay for longer. 

“A couple of years ago people would only come for a weekend but now they’re coming for a week or two,” she said. 

Ms Graham said despite international borders being closed, tourist numbers were strong with Australians opting to holiday at home.

Clare Valley Tourism Centre’s Tania Graham says people are staying longer in the region.(

Supplied: Tania Graham


“Generally our local visitors or interstate visitors weren’t as high as they are but they have increased enormously,” she said. 

The region has also tried to entice visitors who may not be wine lovers with other activities like the Riesling Trail for bike riders and short walks.

The iconic Midnight Oil House is located outside Burra. (

Supplied: Kelly-Anne Saffin


“We’ve got other heritage towns like Mintaro and Martindale Hall.

“If people are staying a few days we recommend they go over to Burra and do the heritage passport over there.”

Redruth Gaol is a historic prison in Burra.(

Supplied: Kelly-Anne Saffin


Regional Development Australia’s Yorke Mid North chief executive Kelly-Anne Saffin said the region promoted a “welcome back” campaign soon after the first COVID lockdown in 2020.

“We saw some really early bookings on that — we had around 80,000 interactions with that campaign that was done through our office,” she said.

However, she said it had not been the same story for all regional areas with some places struggling to attract tourists.

“Those regions closer to borders, their tourism has been affected,” Ms Saffin said.

“Primarily for our region that has been Peterborough and Orroroo because they’re closer to Broken Hill — a lot of those areas have had a visitor decline.

“Regional South Australia overall has had a strong performance and has benefited from South Australians re-discovering their own backyard.”