East coast holiday hotspots almost booked out for Christmas

Media release - 2nd December, 2013

Holiday occupancy rates soar as Aussies stay onshore for Christmas

  • Famous holiday destination Byron Bay is nearing 100% occupancy rates for the 2013/14 summer vacation season
  • Bookings are up 30 percent on the NSW South Coast
  • The Gold Coast is back in favour with holidaymakers pushing occupancy rates to 95 percent

With just over three weeks to Christmas, some of Australia’s favourite travel hotspots are set to enjoy record holiday occupancy rates, according to leading real estate group Raine & Horne.

Angus Raine, Executive Chairman and CEO of Raine & Horne, says more Australians are taking the decision to holiday locally despite the ongoing strength of the Australian dollar.

“Due to a host of reasons, the majority of us probably only take an overseas holiday every few years, so when the Australian dollar climbed above parity not so long ago, it encouraged many to fast-track their plans to travel abroad,” says Mr Raine.

“But now as a consequence, more Aussies are staying home this year, and our holiday management businesses along the eastern seaboard are already reporting near 100% occupancy rates for the Christmas break.”

With time running out before Christmas and holiday accommodation filling up fast, Mr Raine is urging those considering a summer break to make a move before it’s too late.

In Byron Bay, arguably one of Australia’s premier tourism destinations, Raine & Horne Byron Bay is on the verge of hoisting the “no vacancies” sign for the week of 28 December to 4 January, which includes New Year’s Eve, according to Principal Sophie Christou

“Our holiday lettings booked out about three months ago for that week, which is an improvement on last year,” says Ms Christou, who says holidaymakers can still book properties for the week of Christmas.

“It seems people are still a little cautious about the economy and want to do a bit of belt tightening this year by cutting out airfares, so a holiday in Australia seems to make more sense.”

Byron Bay is popular with holidaymakers from Sydney and Melbourne, according to Ms Christou, as well as visitors from New Zealand.

“It helps that there are international flights from New Zealand to the Gold Coast and then it’s a 45 minute drive to Byron Bay,” says Ms Christou, who confirms that two bedroom holiday apartments start from $2,000 a week in the festive season.

On the NSW South Coast, Trish Whelan, Holiday Manager at Raine & Horne Mollymook/Milton, says that bookings for the festive season are about 30 percent stronger than the same time last year.

“We have 100 percent bookings for the New Year’s week from 28 December to 4 January,” says Ms Whelan.

“We’ve improved our online booking services this year and this is a factor in stronger bookings, but our feedback is that more people are holidaying in Australia, with many visitors returning to the South Coast after staying elsewhere the past few years.”

According to Ms Whelan, Ulladulla attracts many country visitors from the Southern Highlands and Wagga Wagga.

“These holidaymakers need to be close to their farms and homes, particularly with the potential for bushfires and floods to cause problems during summer breaks,” says Ms Whelan.

Holidaymakers also have South East Queensland in their sights this Christmas, with Clark Brackenridge, Principal of Raine & Horne Surfers Paradise, reporting 95 percent occupancy from Christmas Eve until the end of January.

“This is a significant improvement on last summer, where occupancy rates of 80 percent were the norm,” says Mr Brackenridge.

“Some of our apartments are booked 100 percent for the holiday period, while our strong summer season probably extends to the end of February.

“Tourist numbers are actually stronger across the year and we already have bookings for March.”

For the latest information on holiday home availability for the summer 2013/14 holidays, visit rh.com.au today.

–ENDS–

For further media information contact:

Angus Raine, Executive Chairman / CEO Raine & Horne on 02 9258 5422 and 0409 920 697

Andrew Harrington, National Marketing & Communications Co-ordinator on 02 9258 5400