Queenslanders hit the road in big numbers
Queenslanders are taking road trip holidays more than the citizens of any other state, new data shows.
A Road Trip Index generated by data from travellers using TripTech apps highlights the steady week-on-week increase of holiday traffic to various parts of the state, with the Outback recording the strongest growth of all Queensland regions.
Over the past five weeks, the area taking in Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Longreach, Birdsville, Bioela, Charleville, Cunnamulla and Roma has recorded an average growth in holiday traffic of more than 28 per cent each week.
The region is home to some of the nation's best road trips, including the Savannah Way and Overlander's Way linking into the Northern Territory, the Matilda Highway, Warrego Way and Adventure Way, which runs through to the South Australian border.
Trips to the Tropical North and the Darling Downs have also been rising, with an average increase in road trippers of 12.2 and 8.7 per cent per week, respectively.
The data comes from a suite of 14 TripTech apps produced for car hire companies, accommodation providers and RV hire companies and includes CamperMate, which has over two million downloads.
Tourism experts say the encouraging figures are the green shoots of a recovering industry, and show that Brisbane-based road trippers are venturing further afield than "close to home" destinations such as the Gold Coast or Noosa.
"Even at this early stage of what will be a long road back to recovery, our launched
Independent Road Travel Index is showing a clear and sustainable increase in the number of
Australians who are returning to travel and they're almost exclusively doing so by road," said TripTech CEO Nick Baker.
"The road trip is not just back in vogue, but it could be here to stay and become entrenched as the primary and most popular means of tourist and leisure travel within and across Australia."
Australian Tourism Industry Council executive director Simon Westaway told News Corp that although talk had raced ahead to discussion of trans-Tasman bubbles, the reality was that intrastate and some interstate travel was all that was available right now.
"It's human nature to be optimistic, but some of the optimism around the reopening of the travel market, both domestically and internationally, has needed to be parked, and we need to be a bit more realistic about where things are at," he said.
Caravan Industry Association CEO Stuart Lamont said there had been a "resurgence of activity towards caravanning and camping roadtrips", with increases in caravan park occupancy, as well as more enquiries at dealerships.
In Queensland, cabins had 62 per cent occupancy over the school holidays and power sites were at 54 per cent - a rate that Mr Lamont said was four times higher than that of just two months prior.
The national TripTech data shows that Queenslanders have taken to the road trip holiday with particular gusto: seven of the top 10 holiday traffic growth areas in the country are in the Sunshine State.
Recent week-on-week growth in holiday traffic to vacation hot spots the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast has been solid, averaging between four and five per cent per week.
But the data also shows how badly all of Queensland's tourism regions have been hit by the coronavirus lockdowns; all the listed regions are showing reduced volumes of holiday-makers from the same time last year. The Sunshine Coast is down 40 per cent, the Gold Coast has declined 49.5 per cent, and Outback Queensland has been hit with a 50.1 per cent drop.
"Queensland is really key to the Australian domestic tourism offering," Mr Westaway said. Local campaigns to encourage Queenslanders to move about the state had borne some fruit, and of all the states it was the most fit to benefit from such a stimulus because it was the most regionally dispersed, he said.
Mr Westaway said the closure of the Victorian border was a "handbrake" on tourism growth.
"Victoria represents the largest or second largest interstate market for every other state and territory in Australia," he said. "Victorians are big travellers and they always chase the sun through our winter."
REGION WEEK ON WEEK ROAD TRAVEL GROWTH
|Region||Week to June 28||Week to July 5||Week to July 12||Week to July 19||Week to July 26||5 week average|
|Tropical North Qld||14.78%||17.23%||11.02%||10.34%||7.87%||12.25%|
Originally published as Queenslanders hit the road in big numbers