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A recent report by Tourism Australia highlights the important contribution holiday rental properties make not only to the stock of accommodation, but also towards the overall tourism experience.

The report, Through the looking glass: The future of domestic tourism in Australia, looked at the challenges facing the tourism industry at present.

It forecast that Australia would face accommodation shortages in the near term and the shortage was causing hotel room rates to rise significantly.

Research has already shown that consumers are having difficulties finding affordable accommodation in Australia.

“Consumers felt the only options were at the luxury end of the rate scale, otherwise accommodation was neutral and characterless,” the report said.

“This trend, along with the already capacity constrained accommodation sector, will lead
to increased prices and will drive the forecasts, in the short term at least, toward less
commercial accommodation options.”

Justin Butterworth, Chairman of the REINSW Holiday and Short Term Rentals Chapter, said the report recognised the importance of diversity and choice for consumers.

“Holiday homes provide the experience and character customers are seeking,” he said.

“Furthermore, holiday rental properties provide an important supply of accommodation, particularly during peak periods and special events such as the Commonwealth Games, Grand Prix and music festivals.”

World Youth Day in July this year is expected to bring over 500,000 people to Sydney, including a visit from Pope Benedict XVI. The Sydney Chamber of Commerce expects the event to inject over $200 million into the local economy.

The Tourism Australia report also found improved quality ratings and consistency would benefit consumers and the industry more widely. In this regard, REINSW is currently developing Best Practise Guidelines to help guide real estate agents towards improved presentation and services for short term rentals.

The report highlighted the need over the longer term to foster domestic travel demand with younger generations.

“It is more important than ever to protect the traditional family beachside holiday,” Justin said.

“Any move to ban holiday rentals will only exacerbate the shortage of affordable accommodation identified in the Tourism Australia report. It will also seriously impact the economies of local communities – particularly in regional areas – and give families less choice for where they can stay on their holidays.”