The Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council is looking to spend $50,000 on a marketing campaign to help ‘bolster’ visitation to the Port Lincoln Airport.
At its December meeting the council decided to put money towards the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) led marketing campaign in an attempt to counteract declining passenger numbers.
Council chief executive officer Rod Pearson said there had been a steady decline in passengers over the last four years, but that was not dissimilar to other regional airports.
“We are hopeful this can consolidate and reverse the trend to get more passengers, but we want a comfortable return on our dollar,” he said.
He said the four key factors affecting passenger numbers were the cost of travel, government travel budgets, business activity and the economic prosperity of the region.
Although a declining trend has been noted, numbers have not been significantly dropping as from July to December 2018 the airport saw 84,505 passengers compared to 84,825 at the same time in 2017.
Mr Pearson said council “endorsed” the marketing proposal, but that it depended on the SATC building a partnership with the airlines over the coming months.
The chosen proposal means the SATC will approach Regional Express Airlines and QantasLink on behalf of the council to execute promotional activity targeting potential interstate and intrastate visitors.
However, Mr Pearson is authorised to approve the final agreement and if the airlines do not take to the idea another approach may be taken.
The council’s economic community development officer Julie Crettenden said the allocated $50,000 was in the operating budget for airport advertising and marketing purposes.
“If one or both carriers are not interested in the partnership approach remaining funds can redirected to destination marketing,” she said.
Ms Crettenden said the marketing aimed to increase passenger numbers and tourist numbers to the airport and region via a fly-drive message to combat the softening passenger numbers in the past 12 months.
The SATC are currently promoting the Eyre Peninsula and Ms Crettenden said they claimed it would be an effective time to take advantage of the increased awareness and interest.