Tourist numbers

Recent figures by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) show tourists injected an extraordinary $205m into the Hills economy in 2016.
This is great news for our tourism industry and proves that we have what it takes to mix it with the best tourist destinations in the world.
The Hills has long been seen as a perfect day-trip destination offering a picturesque and idyllic taste of country life less than 30 minutes from the city.
Domestic day-trip numbers in the Hills have jumped 25% to 1.2 million visitors in 2016 with the average tourist spending $83 during their stay.
This money is largely spent in the region’s food and wine sector, which offers some of the best indulgences on the planet.
Our world-class cheeses, wines, chocolates and other produce lure visitors from across the globe at all times of the year.
Sip a wine by the fire in July or frolic through the vineyard on a hot February day – there is plenty to appreciate about the Hills no matter the weather or the season.
This tourist appreciation is hugely rewarding for local hotels, cafs, shops, restaurants and wineries and we should be making every effort to take advantage of our unique situation.
But an 8% drop in overnight domestic visitors to 177,000 in 2016 shows we must do more to build on accommodation offerings.
We must convince our day-trip visitors to stay overnight and enjoy twice as much of what the region has to offer.
It may be that the Hills both thrives and suffers from its close proximity to Adelaide, as tourists see no reason to stay overnight if city accommodation is a stone’s throw away.
We Hills dwellers must continue to appreciate the value of where we live and the reasons why our backyard is so loved in the first place.
Regular exposure can mean locals don’t fully appreciate the appeal of  the region.
Every once in a while we locals should enjoy what is right on our doorstep and take a slow trip to a pocket of the Hills we might have forgotten.
It’ll be worth the effort … and it’s a lot easier than travelling half way around the world to experience it.