South Australia could become a magnet for international students because of its strong response to the coronavirus pandemic, Premier Steven Marshall says.

Adelaide’s reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities and its relative safety during COVID-19 could attract more international students to South Australia in the coming years, he said.

Just four people have died from coronavirus in SA since the pandemic took off around the world.

International students bring more money into SA than the state’s wheat, barley or wine exports.

“There’s been a kick in the guts since COVID-19 came but we need to recover and do that in a way that’s not going to damage the health safety and welfare of South Australians,” the premier said on Tuesday.

“But next year this could be an opportunity (and) we could become a more attractive place for international students to study.”

Singapore Airlines has announced plans to resume some passenger flights to Australian cities, including Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane, later this month.


That followed an agreement in May for the airline to bring freight into and out of SA using passenger planes.

On Tuesday Mr Marshall suggested that could present an opportunity to welcome back international students from Singapore.

Hundreds of Singaporean nationals already study at the state’s three universities, particularly in medicine and dentistry, and need to get back to Australia.

“This is a really important next step for us,” the premier said.

“There won’t be any passengers next week but it is definitely worthy of consideration if you think about money coming into South Australia.

“We would, of course, observe all of the requirements around safety, just as we did bringing people back on the flights from India.”