THE Santos Tour Down Under (TDU) is one way the Southern Barossa Alliance (SBA) is keeping the region on the map, according to president Simon Taylor.
The five-stage international event, which now includes the women’s race, has toured through the area for the past 20 years.
However, Mr Taylor said doing more to showcase the southern areas while the event is being held has never been more important than in recent times.
“What (the TDU) really does is allows people around the world, internationally, nationally, and even state-wide, to recognise why we love the place we live in,” he said.
“The issues that we have is that we used to be the main entrance to the Barossa Valley.
“Everyone used to come up Main North Road, through Gawler, and then up to Lyndoch and off they went.
“Now, with the expressways and Gomersal Road, our business and tourism visitation is down more than 30 per cent and on top of that, we’ve been hit by Holden’s closing.”
According to State Government figures released earlier this year, the 2017 TDU attracted over 840,000 spectators and generated more than $56.5 million for the economy.
SBA vice-president Steve Balch said the group has tapped into the event’s major international profile, and that’s why it does so much to promote the community through a variety of free activities for the whole family, while the competitors are in town.
“The whole race has got a global audience in the millions, it goes all over Europe,” he said.
“All of that vision of cyclists riding around the Barossa on three big loops is priceless promotion for this region.”
Mr Taylor said the benefit of marketing the region to an international audience isn’t just a win for the southern areas, but also for the entire Barossa Valley.
“We are part of the Barossa and we always will be, so it is good for everyone,” he said.
“But, what we are trying to do is make sure this part is on the map because it is really a great place to visit.
“We (as the SBA) are really about promoting community spirit, trying to develop community facilities, help people get grants, and encourage people to volunteer and get involved.”