US travel company Collette has cemented its relationship with Kangaroo Island after supporting its bushfire recovery.
Collette's chief executive Dan Sullivan this month made a special trip from Rhode Island to South Australia to meet tourism industry partners.
It was also a chance to celebrate the impact of the international tour operator's $20,000 donation to the KI Native Plant Nursery in February 2020.
The donation was to meet the demand for habitat restoration and plant seedlings of provenance in areas affected by the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires, which burnt 212,000 ha of land, nearly half of the Island.
Mr Sullivan on May 13 met key players in the SA tourism industry, including Phil Hoffmann from Phil Hoffmann Travel and Rodney Harrex, chief executive of the SA Tourism Commission.
They met to discuss new initiatives and plans for the travel industry, which is recovering from a challenging two and a half years due to COVID-19.
"Collette is excited to be working with our Australian partners to ensure inbound and outbound travel bounces back triumphantly, after the difficult times the industry has experienced globally," Mr Sullivan said.
"It was wonderful to be here in person, to learn more about the regeneration of Kangaroo Island and we can't wait to welcome international travellers back to Australia.
"We're also very pleased about our growing range of small group tours which includes a new tour to Australia and New Zealand, which visits South Australia."
South Australian Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison welcomed the visit and commitment.
"With our borders open and more planes in the sky, the SA Tourism Commission is focused on our key global markets, just like North America, to recover SA's $1.2 Billion international market," Ms Bettison said.
"Pre COVID, 57,000 visitors from North America came to SA - making it our third largest market.
"We're so excited to be welcoming back our international friends and to have them experiencing the very best of what we have to offer like our food and wine, natural landscapes and wildlife."
Funding from Collette has supported KI landholders to plant more than 10,000 trees and shrubs to replace windbreaks and shelterbelts that protect their stock.
Key areas have been revegetated to mitigate erosion created when native vegetation was burnt across hillsides and coastal sand dunes.
Trees have also been replanted new areas on properties to provide habitat and food for animals, such as the endangered glossy black-cockatoo and the honey bee.
KI Landscape Board Nursery manager, Veronica Bates said the board was extremely grateful for the funding.
"The funding from Collette has contributed significantly to support Kangaroo Island landholders and has facilitated the restoration and enhancement of habitat for wildlife and for a healthy functioning ecosystem," Ms Bates said.
The regrowth on Kangaroo Island is heartening considering the island's standing as one of Australia's most iconic tourism destinations.
It precedes the long-awaited return of inbound travel to Australia, with Collette welcoming travellers from Canada and the US back to our shores from September 2022.
Its new tour, "Australia & New Zealand Uncovered" includes two nights spent in Adelaide, with visits to Hahndorf and the Barossa Valley.
Collette has been a pioneer in guided touring since 1918.
With classic tours, small groups, river cruises and 'spotlight' city stays, there are over 160 tours which go to more than 55 countries offering customers exceptional choice, value and superior 4- star+ quality.
Collette is a third-generation, family-owned worldwide tour operator. With headquarters in Rhode Island, Collette's Sydney office (opened in 2014) adds to the company's global presence which includes offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Nevada.
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