Time to score a few home runs

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Australia - LISA ALLEN

PER­HAPS it’s the lure of a white-sand beach in the Queens­land Whit­sun­days or the thought of a glass of fine Tassie wine in front of a crack­ling fire at a her­itage-listed Ho­bart ho­tel, but Aus­tralians are start­ing to hol­i­day at home again, even though our dol­lar is still at record lev­els.

Don Mor­ris, former chair­man of Tourism Queens­land and now chair­man of tourism con­sul­tancy Tourism Think­tank, says, ‘‘Aus­tralians are [still] hol­i­day­ing overseas with alacrity, be­cause there are end­less pro­mo­tions of cheap air­fares and pack­aged deals. But Queens­land recorded dou­ble-digit growth in vis­i­tor nights in 2012 and fig­ures in all states are up.’’

De­spite such pos­i­tive re­sults, Aus­tralian room rates def­i­nitely are not cheap.

Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey re­leased this week by on­line book­ing ser­vice ho­tels.com, Perth ho­tel tar­iffs, for ex­am­ple, av­er­aged $211 a room a night last year, up about 15 per cent from 2011. In Syd­ney, rates jumped 4 per cent for the same pe­riod to $184 a night, while Bris­bane ho­tel rates were up 1 per cent to $169.

Ho­tels.com re­search shows this is the third con­sec­u­tive year of pos­i­tive growth for Aus­tralian ho­tels since the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, although the 2012 in­crease of 4 per cent is notably less than the 11 per cent reg­is­tered in 2010 and 8 per cent in 2011.

As ex­pected, ho­tels.com at­tributes the Perth room rate in­creases to the min­ing boom in West­ern Aus­tralia, while in Mel­bourne — where prices rose 6 per cent be­tween 2011 and last year to $162 a night — the on­line book­ing ser­vice reck­ons strong de­mand from cor­po­rate and leisure trav­ellers is fu­elling de­mand.

Prices in Queens­land’s Whit­sun­days dropped 9 per cent to av­er­age $247 a night, which may have helped lift vis­i­tor ar­rivals. On the NSWnorth coast, By­ron Bay ho­tels recorded price drops of 7 per cent be­tween 2011 and last year to $165 a night.

But, on Queens­land’s Sun­shine Coast, tar­iffs re­mained sta­ble at $186 a night while its com­peti­tor, the Gold Coast, sus­tained price in­creases of 2 per cent to av­er­age $165 a night.

Mean­while, Tourism Aus­tralia launched a Best Jobs in The World global cam­paign this week to boost at­ten­tion. There are six in­trigu­ing po­si­tions on of­fer, and on­line book­maker sports­bet.com.au re­ports that be­com­ing a park ranger in Queens­land leads its bet­ting for the most ap­pli­ca­tions, fol­lowed by ‘‘chief fun­ster’’ in NSWand wildlife care­taker in South Aus­tralia.

Also on of­fer are roles as a life­style pho­tog­ra­pher in Vic­to­ria, out­back ad­ven­turer in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and ‘‘taste master’’ in West­ern Aus­tralia.

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