Cruise ships could be the key to unlocking more tourism jobs in Port Lincoln.
Tourism is employing more people than ever according to figures released by Tourism Research Australia (TRA), which show the total number of people employed in the sector has risen to an all-time high of 38,900, an increase of four per cent or 1616 jobs on the previous year.
Port Lincoln City Council tourism development officer Naomi Blacker said most of the growth in tourism employment for South Australia was taking place in Adelaide or regions close to Adelaide but Eyre Peninsula had lots of potential.
She said while Port Lincoln only received about three per cent of international visitors, mainly from the UK, USA and Germany, the ever-growing cruise ship industry was having an impact.
"Whilst cruise ship passengers are only here for around eight hours, they represent a great opportunity for positive word of mouth to friends and family about Port Lincoln," Ms Blacker said.
"Research shows over 70 per cent of holiday makers rely on word of mouth over any other form of marketing, so ensuring they have a good time and get to see what Port Lincoln offers is marketing money cannot buy.
"This in turn can lead to increased visitor numbers and therefore jobs; a very good reason to look after our cruise ship passengers."
Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (10,900 jobs), and retail trade (8100 jobs) are the main contributors to the state's tourism employment.
Ms Blacker said that was reflective of Port Lincoln, where cafes, hotels and restaurants put more staff on over the cruise ship season.
"We would love to see more cafes, restaurants and retail businesses in the CBD consider themselves part of the industry and get involved on the Visit Port Lincoln website."
She said increasing visitation outside of the cruise ship season would also help reduce the seasonality of new tourism jobs.
The increase in tourism jobs follows recent news that South Australia's tourism expenditure hit a record high $7.2 billion at the end of March 2019.