Byron hits the highs on Google
BYRON BAY was in the top 10 most searched cities in Australia on Google this year, so where the bloody hell are all the tourists?
Numbers of international visitors to Australia's most famous beach holiday destination have been plummeting in recent years, with figures to June showing a significant downturn.
However, local tourism operators are fighting back in an effort to develop new markets and win back visitors to the region.
Owner-operator of Apartments Inn Byron, Cameron Arnold, said he had seen about a 10% improvement in trade compared to this time last year and other operators were reporting similar improvements.
The gains have been hard won, with the accommodation business working with other tourism operators to value add.
The business has offered its guests packages that have included kayaking, whale watching and eco cruises and other discounts on local businesses.
Mr Arnold said the savings offered were real.
"Domestic tourists are very savvy and Australians are very suspicious of packages so you have to have real offers," he said.
His business opened three years ago at the height of the global financial crisis and said it had been a tough journey, but other operators were also feeling more positive.
International tourism consultant Russell Mills said annual figures to June showed a 12.7% downturn from the previous year in international tourism to Byron Bay.
In the 12 months since June 2011, some 186,000 international travellers visited the region, compared to 230,000 in 2010 and 227,000 in 2008.
Despite not being a city, Byron Bay is in the top 10 most searched cities on Google for the past 12 months. They rank in the following order:
- Gold Coast
- Byron Bay
Other trending searches were for:
- Gangnam Style
- The Voice
- One Direction
- Whitney Houston
- Oz Lotto
- Diablo 3