Kangaroo Island tour operator Craig Wickham touted as ‘travel pioneer’ by SA Tourism Commission | the islander

ECO TOURS: Craig Wickham of the exceptional Kangaroo Island was recently named Top Specialist Guide in a global awards program. Photo: SATC

The South Australian Tourism Commission is launching a new series of case studies called ‘Tourism Trailblazers’ and the first episode features Kangaroo Island tourism icon Craig Wickham.

The concept of the SATC series is to showcase operators across the state who have taken a chance, done something different, and reaped the rewards – with the goal of inspiring others in the industry to learn from their experience.

Mr Wickham, who operates eco-tourism company Exceptional Kangaroo Island, is the first case study.

Watch Craig’s SATC video…

In the SATC video, he talks about his time before the bushfires and COVID, and how he had to reinvent his business after those crises.

This includes how it transitioned to catering for special events in one-of-a-kind locations with pop-up restaurants, offering e-bike tours and, most recently, taking over a commercial laundry that serves vacation homes and service providers. tourist accommodation on the island.

the islander spoke to Mr Wickham in September 2020 about his experiences and his trip abroad to promote Kangaroo Island following the bushfires.

Six months later, we spoke with Mr Wickham about his general frustration during the pandemic over the lack of clarity and support for Australian tourism operators who rely on international visitors.

In recent years, around half of Kangaroo Island’s tourists have come from abroad, although they have obviously shifted to domestic tourism during the pandemic.

SATC chief executive Rodney Harrex said times had been tough for tour operators such as Mr Wickham.

“There is no doubt that our industry has been challenged more than ever over the past two years, but there are many incredible examples of operators innovating and adapting to turn crisis into opportunity,” said Mr Harrex.

ECO TOURS: Craig Wickham, the exceptional Kangaroo Island.  Photo: SATC

ECO TOURS: Craig Wickham, the exceptional Kangaroo Island. Photo: SATC

A screenshot from the SATC video.

A screenshot from the SATC video.

“Through this series of case studies, we showcase South Australian tourism operators who have found new ways of doing things – to reach new markets, diversify their product and champion tourism sectors such as well-being. being or accessible tourism.

“South Australia’s tourism industry is diverse and world-class – and it’s stories of operators like Craig Wickham of Exceptional Kangaroo Island, who was recently named top specialist guide in a global awards program, that we consider it an inspiration to both other operators in the industry and travelers planning their next trip.”