A walking trail along the River Murray could someday bring more than 20,000 extra visitors to the Murraylands each year, Mid Murray Mayor Dave Burgess believes.
The extra visitation would be worth $2 million to the local economy.
Mr Burgess welcomed a state government announcement on Wednesday that it would help build the Murray Coorong Trail, which - when complete - will stretch from Cadell to Salt Creek.
While the government has not pledged any new funds to the project, the cooperation of the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) would make it easier to get the work done, Murray River, Lakes and Coorong tourism development manager Julie Bates said.
"Having the support of Minister (David) Speirs and the state government is an incredible coup," she said.
"Working through land management issues, maintenance, access, safety and conservation along this length continues to be one of our greatest challenges.
"Having DEW involved in the project at ground level will be vital to this happening in a more timely manner."
Almost 33 kilometres of trail has been completed over the past four years through the cooperation of the Mid Murray, Murray Bridge and Coorong councils and the Murray River, Lakes and Coorong Tourism Alliance, helped by statefunding.
The 450km trail is not likely to be finished until sometime in the early 2030s.
Speaking at the Round House in Murray Bridge, Mr Speirs said he was fascinated by the diverse scenery the trail would link along the river, from historical sites associated with the steamboat trade to the Indigenous heritage on display at Ngaut Ngaut Conservation Park.
"Our government understands the value of these multi-day walks," he said.
"They bring a certain type of tourists who, rather than driving through the landscape, want to take their time ... these sorts of tourists tend to be wealthier, too.
"We want to get these tourists in with their credit cards, opening their wallets and spending money in regional South Australia."
As an industry not likely to be affected by automation in the coming decades, he added, tourism would become more and more important to the diversity of the regional economy.
- More information: www.facebook.com/murraycoorongtrail.