HomeCultureAlexandra Paxinos: Meet the Greek Australian who wants to make SA a...

Alexandra Paxinos: Meet the Greek Australian who wants to make SA a global wellness destination 

Author

Date

Category

You can take the Greek out of travelling and hospitality but not the travelling and hospitality out of the Greek goes the saying – with a slight twist to match this article. 

And this is the case for Alexandra Paxinos.

A 30 under 30 winner with a passion for global marketing, for the last six years Paxinos has led some of SA Tourism Commission’s most successful national and international campaigns aimed to encourage travellers to visit the state – or our #GreatState as she clarifies.

Prior to her current role as product development manager with the Tourism Commission, she was responsible for promoting local businesses in China and the Asian markets until everything was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bushfires in the state and the Anti-Extradition protest in Hong Kong. 

Alexandra presenting in Clare Valley on Experience and Industry Capability for tourism businesses

“Then I moved into the Great State Voucher program, which was for domestic recovery, because obviously everyone was just focused on trying to increase people travelling from around and within South Australia. That went really well,” she tells The Greek Herald

Consisting of eight rounds, the Great State Voucher scheme generated thousands of bookings for accommodation, tours and experiences across South Australia that brought the estimated total value of the scheme to nearly $147 million.

“I’ve done a lot of cool campaigns in my role in international marketing but pivoting, at a time where people were uncertain about what was happening in the world and helping so many local operators, was one of the most exciting things I have done and I am proud of,” Paxinos says. 

With fiance Pablo Valle at Down the Rabbit Hole Wines in Fleurieu Peninsula

In March 2022, the total visitor expenditure in the state reached 84 per cent of pre-pandemic levels with the Malinauskas government investing $45 million in the span of four years, to attract more national and international tourists.

“South Australia has a lot of really good selling points and a more authentic vibe compared to Sydney and Melbourne,” says Paxinos.

“I always talk about our food and wine, our nature and wildlife. But coming out of COVID, wellness is a really big thing that we’re starting to focus on and try to create more experiences and products in that space.” 

Global research predicts wellness as the fastest growing tourism sector, with a whopping 20.9% growth expected through to 2025.

“We’re working with a lot of operators and Adelaide Hills is really leading the way in this space.”

But apart from a passionate and proud South Australian, Alexandra Paxinos is also an advocate for women in business, for multiculturalism and accessible tourism experiences. 

“My yiayia (Greek for grandmother) doesn’t speak much English and growing up at our house, we often had international students stay with us so I learned from a young age how to engage with people of different backgrounds. Also, my partner is from Chile and when he came to Australia his English was poor,” she says.

Photo L: Alexandra with her maternal yiayia and photo R with mum Meri

Being a carer for her mother at a young age also helped her to better understand people with disabilities.

“My mum had an accident when I was quite little, so I had to support her which made me more empathetic towards people with disabilities.”

But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

Alexandra Paxinos aspires to become a chief marketing officer at SA Tourism and is making plans for a trip to Ithaca where her dad comes from and Androusa, Messenia where her extended maternal family lives.

“Hopefully I will get more involved with the Greek community again before I travel to Greece,” she says smiling. 

Alexandra’s top 5 places to visit in South Australia:

  1. Goolwa: favourite place to go cockling 
  2. Port Elliot: I used to go to Port Elliot for a week or so every year with my dad and some family friends growing up, during the school holidays. Now it’s a frequent stop when we’re heading to Goolwa (to go cockling) or Middleton (for great coffee at the Home Grain Bakery)
  3. Port Lincoln: must-do experience is swimming with the sea lions! And if you have time, visiting Lake Gairdner and/or Kangaluna Camp (glamping)
  4. Barossa: for fresh produce and wineries
  5. Robe: beachside country-town with great shops, food, and places to stop in the Limestone Coast region (e.g. Pool of Siloam salt water lake, sinkholes and blue lakes in Mt Gambier)

READ MORE: ‘Keeping the traditions alive’: SA winemaker set to make splash in national market

Recent posts