Families set to rediscover Aussie holidays in 2020: Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast Region is trending

  • Wotif research reveals over half (53%) of Aussies believe we need to make the most of 2020 and support local Australian tourism
  • 3 in 4 families (76%) will now place greater importance on Australian travel, even when international travel restrictions lift
  • 58% plan to travel across borders as soon as they open
  • As confirmed by Wotif Public relations manager directly to Capricorn Enterprise this week, the data is reflective of Rockhampton as a larger region/market, inclusive of the surrounding districts (Note: Rockhampton as identified by Wotif in their media releases, refers to the broader region of Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast and includes the surrounding townships of Yeppoon, Emu Park, Great Keppel and Pumpkin Islands, Gracemere, Mount Morgan, The Caves and more.)

ROCKHAMPTON and the Capricorn Coast Region is experiencing a new level of tourist demand, according to hotel booking website, Wotif.

Research by Brisbane-based Wotif indicated Queenslanders’ interest in visiting Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast Region multiplied nine times in the latter half of June compared with the first half. The data were from searches made on Wotif, though the number of searches was not given.

That made Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast Region the fifth-most ‘trending’ location, behind Hervey Bay, Brisbane, Ballandean, and Stanthorpe.

Judging by Wotif’s accommodation demand for July 1 to July 19, the Beef Capital was the sixth most popular school holiday destination in the state.

Wotif managing director Daniel Finch said Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast Region was the “perfect destination for a low-key family adventure and while travel demand is returning for the country’s regular hot spots, many regional areas like Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast Region are seeing unprecedented interest on the site.”

“Rockhampton itself offers something for the whole family to enjoy, with exceptional dining along the river, beautiful botanical gardens and the family favourite Rockhampton Zoo,” he said.

“Queensland has always been one of Australia’s strongest tourism destinations and we know there is a big job ahead to support the tourism industry, so it’s fantastic to see families are making the most of the school holidays and enjoying a much-deserved break in their own state.”

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said Central Queensland spots such as the Capricorn Coast and Carnarvon Gorge were also bringing visitors through Rockhampton, and bookings were “very strong” for the next three months.

“The Capricorn Region from the Central Highlands to the Capricorn Coast is fortunate to have five major drive touring routes pass through it, and with Rockhampton situated on the Pacific Coast touring route, this increases its opportunity as a major regional city to welcome guests travelling along the Queensland eastern coastline.

“Queenslanders certainly have been supporting Queenslanders,” she said.

“We’ve had fantastic June-July school holidays.

“It’s predominantly leisure bookings for people passing through Rockhampton on a bigger trip.

“Our direct marketing efforts in Central Queensland and South East Queensland through TV, digital, and radio have really resonated.”

With restrictions continuing to ease across the country, many Aussies are set to make the most of winter school holidays by travelling locally to support regional communities, with new research from leading travel site Wotif.com confirming over half (53%) of Aussies believe they need to make the most of this year and support local Australian tourism[1].

It comes as the research also reveals over 3 in 4 families (76%) will now place greater importance on Australian travel, even when international travel restrictions lift.

After spending months indoors, Aussie families have a new-found appreciation for domestic travel and are keen to get out and enjoy a local adventure. Travel demand is returning for the country’s regular hotspots, while many regional areas are seeing unprecedented interest, according to the latest data from Wotif.com, with towns including Yass, NSW and Warwick, QLD surging by close to 270%[2].

Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch said, “With the devastating bushfires over summer and subsequent COVID-19 restrictions, many Aussie families missed out on their summer and Easter holiday but as confidence returns and the desire to travel grows, the winter school holidays finally provides families a chance to take that much deserved break.

“Aussies have an incredibly unique opportunity this year, to spend time rediscovering what makes Australia so special, while making a significant impact by travelling locally. Never has a quick weekend away or road trip been so meaningful – to the families looking to reconnect after being in isolation and to the many regional communities that rely on tourism.”

Nostalgic family trips are top of the list  

Where will Australian families travel to first? Wotif research shows most parents (76%) miss the simplicity of childhood holidays, with the vast majority (81%) looking back on their childhood holidays with fondness, despite only travelling locally as a child.

Finch continued: “After months of uncertainty, these school holidays families will be looking for familiar experiences where they feel most comfortable. Our research shows that 61% are planning to return to destinations that remind them of their youth and correlating with that, we’re seeing increasing travel interest for holiday rentals and self-catered apartments, where families can reconnect with one another and set their own pace.”

There’s nothing like a great Aussie road trip

With so much ground to cover, Aussies certainly know how to road trip and when asked how and where they plan to travel, road trips and natural attractions ranked first for Aussie families. Interestingly, families are also set to be the quickest to embrace interstate travel, with 58% planning to travel across borders as soon as they open.

Finch said: “Our Wotif data shows visits to national parks, beaches and regional hubs, that have largely been off-limits are in high demand these school holidays, particularly in NSW, VIC and SA. Taking the kids on a scenic road trip is an achievable way Aussies will start to embrace travel again, using the time to appreciate and teach their kids about what makes Australia so unique, like visiting one of Australia’s Big Things, or stopping to buy some roadside local produce.”

Holidays that give back

Finch added: “With the impacts of the bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions on the tourism industry becoming clear, it’s likely we’ll see Aussies making a conscious effort to do their bit by travelling regionally. In fact, our research confirmed that more than ever, the overwhelming majority (82%) feel responsibility to support Australian tourism, local communities and small businesses.”

The research further reveals 84% of Aussie families say that knowing that their travel could help an affected community recover makes them want to travel locally this year, and similar numbers (81%) also say they will be looking to support destinations that have had to deal with the joint repercussions of the summer bushfires and COVID-19.

Wotif’s top family travel tips

  1. Follow government restrictions: Before booking, travellers should check the latest government restrictions for the area in which they wish to travel and be mindful that travel guidelines may change between booking and travel.
  2. Be booking savvy: Travellers should consider booking options with built-in flexibility, like “flexible cancellation” or “Reserve Now, Pay Later” deals. Both options are available as filters on Wotif.com and are sure to help with peace of mind should plans change.
  3. Follow the tricks of the trade: Many accommodation providers are offering incentive pricing for longer stays, so to get the best value, it’s worth being flexible with your travel dates and considering staying an extra night or two. If travellers have free accounts with sites like Wotif.com, be sure to be logged in when browsing to access member only deals, offering an extra 10% to 50% off select properties.
  4. Plan and book ahead: With social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions in place, avoid disappointment by researching and booking local activities and attractions in advance. 
  5. Keep it simple: Our number one piece of advice for families, especially now, is to remember that in the eyes of a child, it’s the little things that count. You don’t need to break the budget or travel far to create lasting memories with their kids. 

Australia’s top school holiday destinations, according to Wotif.com

Most Popular School Holiday Destinations*Trending School Holiday Destinations**
New South Wales
SydneyBowral – interest up close to 470%
NewcastleOrange – interest up over 400%
Snowy MountainsYass – interest up close to 270%
Byron BayTenterfield – interest up close to 270%
Hunter ValleyDubbo – interest up over 260%
WollongongWollongong – interest up close to 250%
CanberraByron Bay – interest up over 200%
Blue MountainsTamworth – interest up over 200%
KiamaSydney – interest up close to 180%
MudgeeKiama – interest up close to 170%
Gold CoastHervey Bay – interest up close to 1140%
Sunshine CoastBrisbane – interest up over 1135%
BrisbaneBallandean – interest up over 1030%
WhitsundaysStanthorpe – interest up over 1030%
CairnsRockhampton Region – interest up over 900%
Rockhampton RegionSunshine Coast – interest up over 700%
TownsvilleTownsville – interest up over 530%
Hervey BayGold Coast – interest up close to 510%
MackayBundaberg – interest up over 500%
BundabergWarwick – interest up over 480%
MelbourneGeelong – interest close to 1800%
Great Ocean RoadPhillip Island – interest over 900%
Mornington PeninsulaMelbourne – interest close to 870%
GeelongMornington Peninsula – interest up over 500%
Dandenong RangesGreat Ocean Road – interest up over 400%
Phillip IslandBendigo – interest up over 350%
BrightGippsland – interest up over 275%
GippslandDandenong Ranges – interest up over 225%
Yarra ValleyYarra Valley – interest up over 200%
DaylesfordBallarat – interest up over 125%
Western Australia
Coral CoastGolden Outback – interest up over 700%
PerthBroome – interest up over 300%
BusseltonBusselton – interest up over 250%
Margaret RiverMandurah – interest up over 250%
MandurahPerth – interest up over 240%
BroomeMargaret River – interest up over 150%
Golden OutbackCoral Coast – interest up over 80%
South Australia
AdelaideAdelaide – interest up over 400%
Fleurieu PeninsulaFleurieu Peninsula – interest up over 250%
Kangaroo IslandYorke Peninsula – interest up over 200%
Yorke PeninsulaKangaroo Island – interest up over 200%
Limestone Coast 
Murray River
Eyre Peninsula
Port Augusta
HobartLaunceston – interest up over 475%
LauncestonHobart – interest up close to 370%
North West CoastWestern Wilderness – interest up over 200%
Western WildernessNorth West Coast – interest up over 200%

[1]Wotif research commissioned in collaboration with YouGov, June 2020. Total sample of 1,247 Australian adults 18+ who travel away from home on holidays, distributed throughout Australia. The data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

[2] Based on family accommodation interest on Wotif.com from 15 May 2020 – 11 June 2020 compared to 17 April 2020 – 14 May 2020 compared to for travel over each state’s respective winter school holidays dates.

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