COOBER PEDY News & Events


Edward Radeka of the Underground B&B in Potch Gully Road Coober Pedy hosted SA Minister David Ridgway for morning tea and a tour on Sunday morning

SA Tourism Minister David Ridgway was eager to get into the region last weekend to visit the local business community, particularly given that 43 % of the SA visitor economy spend is now in the regions. 

Under the recently released 2030 Visitor Economy Sector Plan, industry and Government have targeted $12.8 billion of visitor spend.

The visit to the Far North provided great opportunity for the Minister to discuss the plan with regional operators both at Coober Pedy and William Creek and get their own perspectives on the opportunities and challenges as we work towards the 2030 target. 

In Coober Pedy specifically, he caught up with Council, the Retail Business and Tourism Association, Opal Inn Motel, The Big Winch, The Underground B&B and the Coober Pedy Regional Times.

Chris Pantelis of the Shell Roadhouse/Outback Bar & Grill was a guest at a dinner with Minister Ridgway held at Umberto’s Restaurant in the Underground Desert Cave Hotel. 

Chris drew the Minister’s attention to the Department of Defence’s annual closing of the Stuart Highway in the WPA being poorly timed.  The uncertain closures over an extended period of time impacts on tourists travelling north and south in peak tourist season.  See CPRT FB page

Chris said that he also made the point that the Stuart Highway needs more signage promoting the area.

Underground B&B owner Edward Radeka spoke about the future trends in tourism for eg the impact of electric vehicles on the town infrastructure.

Edward said, “Something we will need to look at is, even though the population of the town is decreasing we have more electric vehicles being recharged daily. The power station base-load may have to be increased”.

“Businesses will need to be prepared to provide electric vehicle charging stations.  This could happen within the next 5 years,” said Edward.

Edward Radeka and Minister David Ridgway during the tour of the Underground B&B

Minister Ridgway addressed the issue of the Uluru walk closing.  “The climbing of Uluru was one experience in the Uluru national park – there are many other appealing demand driving experiences in the region that visitors will continue to travel north for, including the West McDonnell Ranges, Yulara Resort, Uluru walking trails & caves, the Olgas and Kings Canyon”, said Minister Ridgway 

“In our own state, the amazing natural landscapes of Flinders Ranges, William Creek, Coober Pedy and the breakaways will continue to drive visitation providing economic stimulus to local communities”, he said

Accompanying the Minister David Ridgway entourage was Emma Davies Regional Manager – Far North Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

Ms Davies role as Regional Manager (Far North Region) has a renewed focus under the portfolio of trade and investment.

“I provide a connection point for the region, in particular on Growth State initiatives, opportunities to collaborate, to help identify regional issues/opportunities and innovate on regional solutions regarding trade and investment”, said Ms Davies.  

The Latest Flinders Ranges and Outback visitor expenditure in the year to March 2019 is $454m.

The 2030 Plan sets bold targets for growth for the region of $509m by 2020, $643m by 2025 and $804m by 2030.

These are targets that were set by industry throughout consultation on the plan (the Coober Pedy workshop was in July 2018).

The key themes from the Coober Pedy consultation are all strategic priorities under the 2030 sector plan.

o Infrastructure
o Promotion/Marketing
o Events
o Collaboration
o Industry Support
o Experience Development

The Regional Visitor Strategy priorities for the Flinders Ranges and Outback remain focussed on increasing overnight visitation with greater regional collaboration around touring routes and events with new product infrastructure and capability building opportunities being realised.

On Sunday morning Minister Ridgway began his day at the Opal Inn Hotel meeting up with a number of local business people for breakfast.

Opal Inn Manager Tony Pallotta‘s suggestion was that Coober Pedy’s Tourism Information Centre could be once again run by a committee that involved local operators.; still housed inside the council and jointly funded by council and the state government.  “It’s a model that works well across Australia”, he said.   

“In a unified approach, Coober Pedy’s tourism strategy needs to be brought up to date and aligned with the state tourism plan. The local tourism plan is currently only up to 2020,”said Tony.

Minister Ridgway with Opal Inn Manager Tony Pallotta after breakfast discussing the 20-30 state tourism plan

Minister Ridgway has been to Coober Pedy three times in three years, and said he hoped to get back to the outback in December when Andamooka’s Dine Wine & Mine event is held. 

Edward Radeka thanked the Minister and his team for their attendance at Coober Pedy and at the Underground B&B,and for the lively discussions around tourism and some of the issues faced by the Coober Pedy traders

The Minister then moved on to William Creek to meet with locals and discuss opportunities for their local tourism industry and the important role that will play at a regional and State level. 

In August, the State Government, together with industry leaders, released the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030 which sets an ambitious, bold agenda for tourism. 

Premier Steven Marshall said the industry-led and endorsed Plan aims to grow the state’s visitor economy to $12.8 billion by 2030 and generate an additional 16,000 jobs.

“What we have here is a comprehensive roadmap, direct from industry, on how we can work together to take South Australia’s visitor economy to new heights,” Premier Marshall said.

“This Plan is one of eight different industry sector plans that will form the basis of the State Government’s ‘Growth State’ initiative that aims to promote industry growth by leveraging our competitive advantages, and tourism is a great example of that.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway said South Australia’s Visitor Economy is a key economic pillar of the state.

“It employs 36,000 people across 18,000 businesses, generating $7.2 billion in visitor expenditure. 43 cents of each of those dollars is spent in regional South Australia”

“In order to meet the ambitious target set in the Plan, we need a clear and consistent vision that is created and owned by industry and the South Australian community.   

“This Plan will do just that. Almost 700 people have had their say on the future of South Australia’s tourism industry, which saw the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) travel 5,000 kilometres to conduct 37 hours of workshops at 16 locations with tourism operators, large and small.

Minister David Ridgway at Coober Pedy

“What the SATC has released today is a Plan for industry, by industry, which builds on the momentum and growth that tourism has achieved over the past decade.

SATC Chairman, Mr Andrew Bullock said industry has identified six key priorities of focus to grow tourism to $12.8 billion by 2030.

“Marketing, Experience & Supply Development, Collaboration, Industry Capability, Leisure & Business Events and Promoting the Value of Tourism are where we will focus our efforts and resources to continue to grow tourism in South Australia,” Mr Bullock said.

“Since the South Australian Tourism Plan 2020 was released in 2014, we have grown the value of tourism from $5.1 billion to the current $7.2 billion. In the process we have created 5,000 additional jobs in the sector with 2,000 of these being in regional communities.

“Our state’s visitor economy is on track to achieve the original ambition of $8 billion by December 2020.

“While the $8 billion remains a goal, this is now a waypoint on the journey to achieve an even larger visitor economy in the next decade which will benefit the whole of South Australia.”

Copies of the South Australian Visitor Economy Sector Plan 2030 can be downloaded here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s