Gold Coast loses lustre as younger tourists opt for Melbourne

Hopes of a recovery in demand for tourist accommodation in 2013 on the Gold Coast have been dealt a blow, with young Australians increasingly shunning it as a holiday destination, according to the latest Roy Morgan survey.

Based on a survey sample of 22,000 Australians aged under 30 taken just before the key Christmas holiday period, Roy Morgan found that 4.1 million Australians (22%) want to take a holiday in Melbourne within the next two years, compared with 3.3 million (18%) who would choose the surf, sun and sandy sequins of the Gold Coast.

Also reflecting the rise of big city-based holidays, Sydney is now almost equal third with the Sunshine Coast as a favoured destination, with 2.2 million Australians (12%) choosing Sydney and 2.3 million the Sunshine Coast (12%).

Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road rounds out the top five, with 2 million (11%) wanting to visit.

Reflecting the devastating impact of the GFC on tourism-dependent locations, the Gold Coast was the top tourist destination in Australia from 2001 to late 2007, before Melbourne overtook it in late 2008.

Since then Melbourne’s tourism star has risen and continues to rise while the Gold Coast has continued to decline with both its holiday accommodation market and overall property market slumping.

The November quarter Midwood Report tallied just 19 high-rise apartment sales on the Gold Coast over the November quarter, a 70% plunge from sales figure a year ago, with 705 new high-rise apartments still available for purchase and receivers appointed to high-rise developments Oracle and Soul among others.

Commenting on the latest results, Jane Ianniello, international director of tourism, travel & leisure at Roy Morgan Research, says beach destinations such as the Gold and Sunshine coasts have suffered in popularity over the past decade due to increased competition from short-haul overseas beach destinations such as Bali, Fiji and Thailand.

She says Melbourne is the only domestic holiday destinations to have increased in preference over past decade.

“Australians under 30 are particularly attracted to it, with 28% saying they would like to take a holiday there in the next two years. The shopping, dining, nightlife, and special events all appeal to this younger age group,” Ianniello says.

“Sydney has regained popularity as a holiday destination over the past three years after suffering a large drop in preference after the Cronulla riots in December 2005.”

A guide to the top 10 destinations for 2013 by accommodation booking website ranks Taipei, Taiwan, as the top destination following a rise in tourist numbers in 2012 and the opportunity to view the city from one of the world’s tallest buildings (Taipei 101), along with “gloriously tasty and extremely affordable food and more”.

Porto, Portugal, the “city of bridges”, ranks second for being “visually stunning”, followed by Christchurch, New Zealand – the closest to an Australian destination, as it rises from earthquake disasters.

The others in the Hostelworld top 10 are Amsterdam, San Diego, Rio De Janeiro, Budapest, Tokyo, Girona (Spain) and Cape Town.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.


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