Airbnb’s in the region have been busy with Melanie Levasseur’s property in Jubilee Pocket taking three bookings a day. Image: Supplied
Airbnb’s in the region have been busy with Melanie Levasseur’s property in Jubilee Pocket taking three bookings a day. Image: Supplied

Whitsundays top of the bucket list for Queensland escapes

THE sunny Whitsundays is holding its own at the top of the country’s domestic travel bucket list, landing itself as one of the most popular post-lockdown travel destinations on two major booking sites.

The Whitsundays topped the list of trending Queensland destinations according to online booking company Wotif.

The trend is based on accommodation interest on the website between June 27 and July 12.

Second on the list was Port Douglas, followed by Cairns, Hervey Bay and Mackay.

Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch said interest in travel to the region had peaked in line with the upcoming July school holidays.

“Looking at the upcoming school holidays, according to Wotif.com data, the Whitsundays is the number one destination in Queensland, with travel interest spiking close to 570 per cent,” he said.

“Traction is also building for intrastate flights and packages from Brisbane, specifically for Cairns and the Whitsundays, which is a promising sign for the region.”

A similar trend was seen on online booking company Airbnb where data obtained by News Corp revealed the Whitsundays as one of the top five post-lockdown holiday hot spots in the state.

The Whitsundays topped the list of travel destinations on Wotif.com. Picture: Tourism Whitsundays
The Whitsundays topped the list of travel destinations on Wotif.com. Picture: Tourism Whitsundays

From June 7 to June 13, the site saw a 112 per cent increase in bookings compared to the same week last year.

The region joined the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba and Stradbroke and Moreton Islands in the top five.

Airbnb’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand Susan Wheeldon said Australians were looking to venture into their own backyards.

“We know people are in search of fresh air, wide open spaces and the ocean, with coastal destinations like the Whitsundays featuring prominently on Australians wish lists,” she said.

“These positive early signs of domestic travel getting ready to make a comeback is a welcome relief for the local families and communities who depend on Australia’s tourism industry.”

Melanie Levasseur, who owns two Airbnb properties in the Whitsundays, also said she had seen an increase in bookings over the past few weeks.

“I saw a spike in bookings, (I was getting) three a day as soon as (travel restrictions) lifted and it’s been consistent since,” she said.

“Last week I was easily getting a booking a day.”

Ms Levasseur said coronavirus travel restrictions had not impacted her accommodation significantly as she had a number of extended length bookings.

However, she looked forward to welcoming more travellers from across the state to the Whitsundays.

“The Australians will travel to Airlie Beach. I don’t think we have anything to worry about.”