Judy Mason and John Smith set up camp in Mackay.
Judy Mason and John Smith set up camp in Mackay. Stuart Quinn

Why Mackay's near the top of the list for southern tourists

AS WINTER creeps up on us, travellers from around Australia are desperately chasing a warmer climate.

Data is backing up this trend, with a new report released by Expedia Group this month identifying Queensland as having the second largest increase in winter visitors.

Topping the statewide list with a 25 per cent increase in year-on-year demand was Port Douglas, closely followed by Mackay, which had a 15 per cent increase.

Bucasia Beachfront Caravan Resort manager Mclean Brealy said he relied heavily on the winter trade.

"Winter is actually when we make most of our money," he said. "I've noticed over the past fours a steady increase each year in the amount of bookings.

"In winter we are normally booked out every night."

Mr Brealy said the majority of winter visitors were coming from Victoria or South Australia, and they were travelling to escape the cold.

"The weather is what draws them up this way,. They all comment on the warm weather in Mackay, but love that it's not too humid like it is further north. It's reliable here."

Phone enquiries started to increase at the end of May, Mr Brealy said.

"We go from about 50 per cent full to booked out as soon as the winter season starts."

Expedia Group director of marketing management Jamie Griego said the strong demand from domestic travellers would have an economic benefit for local hoteliers.

"Our data shows that those from Generation X are most likely to be travelling over winter as they regularly favour domestic travel," he said.

The fastest growing regional destinations for interstate travellers in Australia include:

  • Port Douglas (up 25%)
  • Mackay (15%)
  • Rockhampton (15%)
  • Whitsundays (10%)
  • Toowoomba (10%)

Expedia Group's findings were based on domestic hotel demand data from June to August 2018.