In the first in a series of articles, Sue Hill, on behalf of Clockwise Consulting, provides a snapshot of Adelaide’s current event capabilities.

By Sue Hill, Foster Hill PR on behalf of Clockwise Consulting

South Australia has been fortunate in its COVID recovery with new infection rates minimal and those recorded being from returning visitors as opposed community transmission.

Current restrictions still have a 1.2-metre social distancing requirement and a ban on drinking whilst standing inside venues. But, as of last week, dancing is allowed at private functions of up to 150 guests where alcohol is served.

So, what’s actually happening in the state that in pre-COVID times – perhaps fortunately – relied less on international visitation than those particularly in the east? With borders open to visitors from all states bar Victoria, South Australia certainly has some positive stories to share.

Much of the local hospitality industry is thriving with many venues, particularly those that innovated and reinvented during the full lockdown period earlier in the year, are now reporting their figures actually being up year-on-year from both regular dining and since restrictions have eased further.

Matt Radbone, manager of South Australia tourist hotspot The Victory Hotel MclarneVale/Sellicks Beach, said: “Our business event enquiries have increased compared to [the] same time last year, we think people are taking the time to entertain smaller, more intimate groups and to get out of the city, there is also incremental feedback that people simply have more time because they aren’t travelling interstate or overseas and as such, they are keen to head out to support the regions.”

The National Wine Centre general manager Jason Bird echoed these sentiments: “We are primarily a tourism and events venue, so we were hit particularly hard.

“We reinvented our A-Z of Australian wine regions masterclasses with a home delivery /zoom option and, in response to demand, managed to include interstate parties.

“It’s still going well even with restrictions easing so we’ll run with it until at least the end of the year.

“We’re also realising some positive signs of recovery in the event space. In fact, one of our first upon reopening was a networking function hosted by Business SA for its members.

“Weddings, dinners, and social events have certainly bounced back and our bookings are looking really healthy now into 2021, albeit numbers are reduced to cater for social distancing.

“Our meetings business is still very much local and/or hybrid but enquiries from groups looking to host events with interstate guests are starting to emerge as confidence starts to increase.

“Opening the borders with NSW in the past week has certainly given this component of our business a positive boost and we’re currently running some very attractive packages in this space to help the sector.”

Stay tuned for the second article about Adelaide’s current event capabilities.