THE falling dollar is encouraging more Australians to holiday at home this festive season, with some of Australia's favourite holiday destinations set for a bumper Christmas holiday period.
Real estate group Raine & Horne has reported booming occupancy rates in a number of popular holiday spots across Queensland and NSW in the lead up to the summer holidays.
Clark Brackenridge, principal of Raine & Horne Surfers Paradise, says the current economic climate is making Australia an appealing holiday destination.
"More Australians seem content to holiday at home this Christmas, while the falling dollar is making Australia a more affordable vacation destination for overseas travellers," he says.
On the Gold Coast, Raine & Horne Surfers Paradise is reporting that 95 per cent of its holiday apartments on the popular tourist strip have already been booked for the summer holidays.
"The cheaper dollar, coupled with twice-weekly Jetstar flights from Wuhan, China, which are set to bring 70,000 Chinese tourists to the Gold Coast, is also having an impact on Christmas holiday bookings," Brackenridge says.
In northern New South Wales, occupancy rates in the coastal hamlet of Yamba are running at 90 per cent for the Christmas week and the 'no vacancy signs' are up for the New Year week period, according to Raine & Horne Yamba.
Yamba has enjoyed good publicity in recent years, with the Australian Traveller Magazine voting it the number one tourist town in 2009 and 2013.
On the NSW central coast, Brett Hunter, general manager of Raine & Horne Terrigal/Avoca Beach, says bookings for the summer holidays have been slow to pick up, but are expected to climb sharply.
"We also had slower bookings in the lead up to the October long weekend, yet we ended up enjoying 100 per cent occupancy rates," Hunter says.
"Many Sydneysiders are so busy with work and family commitments that they're increasingly leaving the task of booking a vacation to the last minute.
"The good news is that we still have some great holiday properties available for the summer break for those who take the time to get in early."
At Mollymook and Milton, on the south coast of NSW, occupancy rates for holiday lettings are already nudging 95 per cent, according to Lynn Brook, Raine & Horne holiday lettings manager for the area.
"We are doing much better than last year and it's fair to say the Australian dollar has had an impact in encouraging more Australians to take a beach holiday at home," she says.
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