Agents on the Spot: South Australia
In June this year, 19 Aussie Specialist Agents joined an educational which took in South Australia. They explored the city sights, shops and restaurants of Adelaide, drove to the surrounding hills and wine growing valleys and some took a two-day trip to Kangaroo Island. The educational was run jointly by Gold Medal Travel, Tourism Queensland, the South Australian Tourism Commission and Travel Weekly. We asked three agents for their impressions before and after the trip.
Before: I had been to Australia before but not to South Australia. Although we were travelling in the Australian winter I thought it would still be pretty hot but I didn't really know what to expect in terms of attractions. We sold quite a lot of holidays to South Australia but only to those who had friends or relatives there and knew exactly where they wanted to go - the majority of our pure holidaymakers were more interested in Cairns and Sydney. I didn't really think there was very much for tourists to do - I thought Adelaide was just another city which was trying to promote itself but didn't really have much to offer.
After: Adelaide is a really nice, colonial-style city but it was much colder in June than I had expected. There is a lot to do in the city plus a range of enjoyable day trips which include tours of the nearby wine valleys such as the Barossa. I would now recommend a trip to nearby Kangaroo Island. It's really interesting - going there is like going back in time - the pace is very slow and there is a lot of traditional farming businesses which are fascinating. I'm glad I have been to South Australia because I think it can really appeal to some UK clients - I probably wouldn't go back myself but it would really suit older people interested in wine tasting, good food and pleasant day trips.
Karen Swinton, Senior Travel Consultant, Hendersons Travel, Hawick, Roxburghshire, Age 26
Before: "I had been to Australia in the early 1980s but not to South Australia. I thought it would be cold and quite bleak but that the scenery would make up for the bad weather. We are a major consolidator for a couple of airlines flying to Australia so we take a fair number of bookings and, as fares have got cheaper, I have found that more clients are prepared to book ground content before departure. Many clients are not clear as to what the state has to offer so I felt it would be very useful if I knew the destination and could recommend some tours.
After: Adelaide is steeped in pioneer history and although many of South Australia's landmarks are not well known they are actually very interesting. A trip to Kangaroo Island was terrific and some of its attractions - such as The Remarkables (an unusual rock formation shaped by the wind and sea)- are really unique. The people are really friendly and although the weather in June is not brilliant, it wasn't as cold as I had expected. South Australia is a very easy, convenient place to explore and you can travel between some real extremes of scenery in a very short time. I think it is a great place and I would certainly go back there for a holiday myself.
Paul Goodier, Business Travel Manager, Dunstan Brearly Travel, Barnsley, Age 38
Before: I hadn't been to South Australia before and had always considered Adelaide to be a rather remote city with not a great amount to it. I didn't really think Adelaide had very much to offer the tourist and I didn't think there was much to see and do. The only people I knew who went there were those travelling to visit friends and relatives. South Australia was not often top of the list of places clients wanted to go to in Australia and I felt I needed to have a better appreciation of its attractions myself if I was to be able to recommend it as a place to go.
After: Adelaide and the surrounding area are a real surprise. There is so much more to do there than I had imagined. The city itself is very English, very easy to explore and enjoy with great shops, good restaurants and plenty to see. Then beyond the city there are the wine valleys such as the Barossa (less than 1hr by car) which is wonderful for wine-tasting with numerous effortless, scenic drives. The sandy beaches are also lovely and they are much nearer the city than you would think (around 20mins from the centre). Within a fairly compact area you can see a huge amount and I would certainly go back. Clients based in Adelaide are really well placed to see a great deal and enjoy a wide variety of Australian experiences.
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