Booming summer expected for Aussie tourism

NRMA Merimbula Beach Holiday Park
Merimbula Beach NRMA Park_mobile

Friday 22 October 2021: Regional communities across Australia are expected to see one of the busiest holiday periods on record with Australians preparing to escape COVID and holiday over the summer months, according to new research by NRMA Parks & Resorts.

The new research from NRMA Parks & Resorts has found that 69 per cent of the 1,996 respondents across NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT indicated they were looking to travel in November/December this year, increasing to 83% by March/April 2022.

With borders currently closed between states and uncertainty over when they will be opened, 70% of consumers said they are less willing to book interstate travel at this point.

NRMA Parks & Resorts is one of Australia’s largest holiday park operators, with a stable of 46 parks owned and managed across Australia. Throughout the pandemic the NRMA has provided flexible booking arrangements including full refunds.

The research looked to understand the key concerns of consumers when it comes to travel as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, with 30 per cent indicating they had already booked their next holiday.

The research indicated those in NSW, ACT and Victoria who had experienced ongoing lockdowns and travel restrictions were more likely to have planned their next trip but were waiting on more certainty around restrictions before booking.

NRMA CEO Parks & Resorts Paul Davies said NRMA was pleased to be welcoming travellers again with parks seeing booking numbers up almost 25% for the December and January compared to the 2020 holiday season.

“It is hard to envisage a time when Australians needed a holiday more and when regional communities needed a much-needed injection of tourism funds so these figures are very welcoming for the nation,” Mr Davies said.

“Across NRMA’s 37 Parks and resorts we have seen increasing demand for bookings and over 50 per cent of demand is for ‘last minute’ travel within seven days. People aren’t waiting until Christmas, they are booking now for short getaways outside of peak holiday periods.

“Given the strong interest in travelling shown by this research, we encourage people to look widely for great places to visit, rather than just the most well-known locations, and to consider traveling outside of the peak holiday weeks.

“There is growing confidence that the summer 2021 period will offer a real chance for families to get away, but we also know flexibility is key with over 95 per cent of respondents indicating they would like to be able to change their travel dates or receive a refund if they are unable to travel.”

The research has found that COVID restrictions throughout 2020 and border closures led to significant apprehension when booking holidays, with 90 per cent of respondents saying COVID continues to make it hard to confidently book a holiday.

The research found that among those still apprehensive about booking a holiday of the next six months concerns centred around the risk of future border closures (42%), Covid-19 generally (31%) and ‘future too uncertain’ or ‘wait and see’ (26%).

“Our research also shows customers want their accommodation to be COVID-safe, with over 70 per cent of respondents wanting clear information before visiting about how their venue is dealing with COVID” Mr Davies said.

“Sixty per cent of travellers expect staff at their accommodation should wear protective equipment such as face masks and 54 per cent would like to see visible signage at the venue about how to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

The most popular destinations travellers are heading to in each state are:

North Coast (50%) Central Murray (30%)  Sunshine Coast (41%) Victor Harbour (33%)
South Coast (41%) Great Ocean Rd (29%)  Gold Coast (38%) Adelaide (29%)
Central Coast (25%) High Country (28%) Fraser Coast (21%) Yorke Peninsula (27%)
Central NSW (19%) Gippsland (20%) Capricorn (20%) Eyre Peninsula (24%)
Hunter (16%) Lakes (19%) Whitsundays (19%) Fleurieu Peninsula (23%)

While there is a strong interest in local and regional travel for this holiday season, when asked about the future of international travel, just two per cent of respondents expect to travel overseas by end of 2021, 26 per cent by end of 2022 and 57 per cent by 2023 or later