There was glitz, there was glamour, there were sparkles and a giant pink Hummer when Hans – the Boy Wonder from Berlin – came to the Clare Valley last week.
Most importantly, there was national attention, all in the name of the South Australian Tourism Commission’s Welcome Back SA promotion campaign.
Hans rolled into the Clare Valley last Wednesday (June 3) on a week-long tour of the state, which also took him to the Adelaide Hills, Tailem Bend/Monarto, Port Elliot and the Flinders Ranges.
Each day, the loveable ‘German’ featured in a live cross to the Studio 10 television program to sing the praises of SA.
And when the Plains Producer caught up with him at Mr Mick last Thursday, Hans could not speak highly enough of what our region had on offer.
“I’ve been on the Riesling Trail on E-bikes from Clare Valley Cycling Hire, which I absolutely loved and will be coming back for,” he said.
“I was at Burkirk Glamping – now, I am as camp as they come but I don’t like camping, but this was great, it had lovely ensuites and comfy beds, I met the pig Kevin Bacon who was dressed a bit like me… it really puts new meaning to ‘put lipstick on a pig’.
“We had dinner at Umbria which was amazing, now here we are at Mr Mick.”
Hans said he had enjoyed the opportunity to be a tourist in his own state, with so much available just a short drive from Adelaide.
“I am from Berlin you know, but I have chosen to make SA my home and I can see after this week I’ve made the right choice,” he said.
“I hope people will appreciate what we have here in the state a bit more and see the exciting opportunities we have here.
“Most of the things I’ve done this week, I’ve never done before.”
The Welcome Back SA campaign is aimed at tempting South Australians back out into the regions following the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Launching the campaign, Premier Steven Marshall said the $1.5 million initiative was the start of a major recovery phase for regional communities impacted by the pandemic and also drought and fires.
“The ‘Welcome Back’ campaign is all about getting behind our tourism regions and helping these local communities, businesses and families get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” he said.
Traffic to the SATC’s southaustralia.com website from intra-state visitors increased by nearly 82 per cent to more than 200,000 visits in the two weeks following the announcement of the easing of restrictions on May 8, with direct leads to tourism operators increasing, up almost 30pc on the same time last year to 42,000.
“We have heard directly from accommodation providers that people are coming back. New data from Airbnb has shown a surge in domestic bookings, particularly in regional areas, with South Australia reporting a significant increase in same-state travel, with bookings up 77pc, compared with the same week last year,” the Premier said.
“That’s great news for operators, and a massive show of support from fellow South Australians – we’ve got your back.”