Time to score a few home runs
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.