Murray River, lakes and Coorong tourism's value rises $49 million in six years

More tourists are visiting the Murray River, lakes and Coorong, and they're staying longer and spending more while they're here.

The results of a national visitor survey, released last week, have shown just how far the region has come in the past six years.

Around 334,000 people visited the river, lakes and Coorong over the 12 months to this March, an increase of 25 per cent since the last survey was completed in 2013.

However, the number of nights they stayed rose by 39 per cent over the same period, to almost 1.1 million in total.

Their spending went up by 40pc, or $49 million, to $172 million per year.

South Australian visitors made up three quarters of the total number, and day trips also remained a popular option for an estimated 892,000 people each year.

Regional tourism manager Julie Bates said the figures showed visitors were discovering what locals had long known: that destinations such as the river, Coorong and Langhorne Creek were best experienced in person.

"There is something for every age and interest: nature and adventure tourism experiences, relaxed river cruising, major events, family getaways, luxury riverside holiday homes, premium food and wine and so much more, all on Adelaide's doorstep and right on the key route to Melbourne," she said.

She also credited tourism operators for upping their game in recent years.

"Significant investment in the region, such as the incredible The Bend Motorsport Park and the new Lions 360 experience at Monarto Zoo, are exposing a new wave of tourists to all of the amazing attractions the Murray River, lakes and Coorong has to offer," she said.

"The incredibly positive thing for the region is that the investment is continuing.

"The new $35 million Gifford Hill racecourse and function centre will deliver opportunities ... to build and capitalise on the influx of visitors."

Other drawcards included the annual Handpicked Festival, Sounds by the River, Tailem Bend's Supercars race and Murray Bridge's pedal prix, she said.

The 2020 Tour Down Under, and the associated challenge tour's finish in Murray Bridge, would be another feather in the region's cap.

Image: SA Tourism Commission.

Image: SA Tourism Commission.

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