To see exactly why Australia is synonymous with an abundance of iconic beaches and natural attractions, head to your local city.
That’s the key message in Tourism Australia’s latest campaign “Holiday Here This Year – City Escapes” to encourage people to book a city break and provide much-needed support to businesses making up the nation’s $152 billion tourism industry.
“Our cities are the key international gateways to Australia and transit hubs for travellers, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been hit the hardest in terms of tourism spend, hotel occupancy and aviation capacity over the past year,” Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said.
“Whether it be long, short or a quick day trip into the city, operators have worked really hard to ensure safety — as well as the ease of flexibility — for travellers.”
Eight in ten Australians say that travel restrictions have made them appreciate better what an amazing state they live in, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph and Tourism Australia.
Meredith Rogers from Clovelly said few cities have as many fabulous beaches and walks as Sydney so take advantage of them.
“We have many great experiences and attractions on offer for people of all ages, so you can have a truly fantastic holiday experience whilst also helping our city to thrive,” she said.
Meanwhile 84 per cent say there are actions that tourism operators could take to give them the confidence to book with them in the next 3-6 months.
This has encouraged hotels to take every step to ensure the wellbeing of their guests, including updating cancellation policies and health and safety protocols.
“Cleanliness has always been a priority and last year we announced enhanced measures and guidelines to give guests and our colleagues even greater confidence,” IHG Hotels & Resorts’ head of operations Ruwan Peiris said.
“InterContinental Sydney Double Bay and Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach have gone completely pet-friendly as people want to travel with their four-legged friends.”
Mr Peiris said the company now offers ‘Book Now Pay Later’ rates and allows free cancellation up to 72 hours prior to arrival.
Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Resort general manager Mark Winterton said the site has benefited, with strong occupancy from locals.
“This not only allows us to keep our doors open and welcome guests safely, but enables us to retain wonderful industry talent through jobs,” he said.
There’s also been a resurgence in coastal and regional holidays.
Lyndel Gray, CEO of Caravan Camping Industry Association of NSW, said caravan parks have experienced an increase in campers.
“Popularity continues to rise and many holiday parks have seen a big increase in nights stayed. RV sales are also doing well with buyer interest at greater than usual levels,” she said,
“All this showcases the popularity of caravan and camping holidays as the perfect way to get out and explore our backyard.”
Reflections Holiday Parks saw an increase in bookings for roofed accommodation across all NSW regions but especially Far North Coast and Manning Great Lakes.
Parks within an easy drive of Sydney, such as Seal Rocks, and Hawkes Nest have also had a significant resurgence in demand.
“Our inland parks have 55 per cent increase in occupancy and more than doubled their camping nights,” Reflections Holiday Parks CEO Steve Edmonds said.
“Our coastal and country parks promise fresh air and relaxation, encourage healthy outdoor activities and support regional townships which have done it tough and struggled through drought, fires and now a pandemic.”