As holiday-makers make their annual migration to Warrnambool’s various seaside haunts, tourism operators are tipping a record season.
Many are reporting a 90 to 95 per cent capacity extending well into the new year.
Warrnambool’s Lady Bay Resort manager Lydia Kippe said early bookings had prepared them for a ‘bumper’ season.
“We’ve been booked out from Boxing Day to New Years for well over two months now,” she said. “We’re sitting at 76 per cent return guests, some who have been staying here for nine years, if not longer, and who book from year to year.”
Port Fairy operators are also taking their slice of the tourism pie with team leader of visitor services Ashley Price confirming the port town was close to capacity.
“Port Fairy is currently 90-95 per cent capacity until the second of January,” he said. “Our major accommodation providers are almost full but we could still find something for holiday-makers making their way here.”
This comes after tourism chief David McMahon revealed on Tuesday that locals were the industry’s best advocates.
“Sixty percent of our tourism comes from visiting family and friends,” he said.
Mr McMahon also said the idea of locals filling the city’s caravan parks was a myth.
“Our records show Surfside has 19 per cent local bookings,” he said. “We think it’s actually much lower than that. I think you’ll find they rotate families over the stay but a local made the booking.”