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On the road to marvellous motels

Motels became magnets when Aussies ditched crowded airports for the open road but ongoing success relies on the return of international guests

Soaring airfares and flight disruptions saw the revival of the Great Aussie Road Trip over the Christmas and New Year holidays. And Queensland motels were among the big winners as many Aussies ditched crowded airports for the wide open road.

While much of Queensland enjoyed bumper tourism numbers over the last holiday period, it was those regions easily accessible by car from Brisbane and Townsville that had the best results.

Motels became magnets.

Brett Fraser, the Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, told AccomNews: “The festive period saw many accommodation providers achieve excellent results.

“Domestic demand for travel and experiences remained strong throughout the Christmas and New Year period. Much of Queensland’s holiday success was owed to the undiminished appetite of Australians for travel.

“The festive successes were not felt evenly throughout Queensland though. Regions easily accessible by car enjoyed a bumper holiday season, while those further away from city centres experienced lower occupancy numbers.

“We’re mindful that the future success of the tourism sector relies on the return of international guests.

“Overseas travellers stay longer and spend more, and their return is vital to the success of our visitor economy.”

Wotif data showed a whopping 75 percent increase in Australian holidaymakers booking motels over the Christmas break compared with the same period in 2019.

And, according to The New Daily newspaper, demand for beach motels also lifted 35 percent in 2022.

Many motel owners used the COVID downturn to renovate and refresh their properties.

Figures released by Tourism Research Australia showed that overnight spend in December 2022 was $7.9 billion, up 28 percent on the same pre-COVID period in December 2019.

Early data shows that domestic overnight trip rates for January 2023 and the first three weeks of February are significantly up on pre-pandemic levels.

The strongest growth in interstate spend compared to 2019 was in Queensland – up $267 million or 46 percent, and the strongest growth in intrastate spend compared to 2019 was also in the Sunshine State – up $423 million or 52 percent. Queenslanders apparently have been discovering the delights of their own state more and more, especially when they can drive to their destinations.

Our latest AccomNews print issue is available now! Read it here.

The latest figures come as 16 Queensland tourism experiences scooped the pool at the Australian Tourism Awards in Sydney in March.

Queensland took home the most awards and more gold than any other Australian state.

The Australian Tourism Awards featured 25 categories, with Queensland winning seven prestigious gold awards, the most by any Australian state.

Queensland tourism businesses also won three silver and six bronze awards.

Queensland’s national award winners were:

Gold – Wildcat Mackay, New Tourism Business

Gold – Fun Over 50 Holidays, Tour & Transport Operators

Gold – BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Caravan & Holiday Parks

Gold – Bli Bli House, Hosted Accommodation

Gold – Cape York Peninsula Lodge, 4-4.5 Star Deluxe Accommodation

Gold – Outback Queensland Masters, Festivals & Events

Gold – Bundaberg Rum Distillery Visitor Experience, Tourist Attractions

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