Accommodation rates strong in Port Stephens

HIKING: Port Stephens accommodation rates are very strong for the summer holiday tourist season, and hiking has been a popular pastime. Picture: Destination Port Stephens
HIKING: Port Stephens accommodation rates are very strong for the summer holiday tourist season, and hiking has been a popular pastime. Picture: Destination Port Stephens

Port Stephens is enjoying another strong summer tourist season with many accommodation houses and holiday parks having recorded "high to very high" percentage occupancy rates over the Christmas/New Year period.

While bookings continue to fluctuate two weeks into the January school holidays, many accommodation operators are relying on the "short lead time" and "last-minute" tourists to fill their rooms.

Destination Port Stephens CEO Eileen Gilliland said the entire industry was feeling for operators affected by fires.

"I would like to express my deepest sympathies to families who have lost loved ones, to the tourist operators who have lost business and pay respect to the brave firefighters," she said.

"We are all feeling for our colleagues and their communities. In Port Stephens we are very fortunate to have not been affected, although the visitor information centre has received calls from potential visitors asking about the extent of smoke in Port Stephens."

Will Creedon, owner of Alloggio which looks after hundreds of rental properties operating under Port Stephens Accommodation, Winnings Holidays and Holidays Port Stephens, said they have been extremely busy this holiday season.

"So far bookings have been as good, in not better, than previous seasons. Many visitors on short breaks are taking advantage of the Port's waterways, dunes and national parks," he said.

"The international market remains fairly strong, with Korean tourists making up for the shortfall of Chinese visitors, who are slightly down on previous years."

HOLIDAY TIME: Water activities are some of the many attractions to Port Stephens during the summer holidays. Picture: Destination Port Stephens

HOLIDAY TIME: Water activities are some of the many attractions to Port Stephens during the summer holidays. Picture: Destination Port Stephens

Mr Creedon said that current conditions pointed to continuing good numbers leading into the Australia Day weekend.

"We have seen in the past few years the redevelopment of the Country Club, Bannisters and Seabreeze Hotel giving visitors the chance to rediscover the attraction of Port Stephens."

Port Stephens Council's holiday parks have had an occupancy rate in the high 90 per cent over summer, with visitors to Halifax and Shoal Bay holiday parks enjoying the newly renovated amenities.

A spokesperson said that the council's three pet friendly parks at Shoal Bay, Fingal Bay and Halifax were experiencing strong bookings.

"Our guests absolutely love the option to bring their pets. We get a great response from our grey nomads in particular, as they are travelling the country with their pets."

Leanne Jenkins, from Mantra Nelson Bay, said that the peak period from December 20 to January 10 was healthy at 93 per cent occupancy.

"In saying that, we've had many cancellations due to the fires in the weeks leading up to Christmas."

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