South-west accommodation providers are hoping for a minor miracle in the coming days.
Visitor bookings for the usually busy September school holidays are at an all-time low, say two holiday park owners.
Peter McCallum, owner of the Gum Tree Caravan Park in Port Fairy, said the number of inquiries had been very low with COVID restrictions in place across Victoria.
"The phone has been very quiet this week," Mr McCallum said.
"It's really quiet. It's been a real struggle for 18 months now."
Mr McCallum said the park had bookings to fill 10 to 15 per cent of the park for the two weeks of the school holidays at present.
"The Ballarat lockdown was pretty disappointing, we've had a few cancellations due to that," he said.
Mr McCallum said he hoped there would be some last-minute bookings but he didn't expect it to be a busy period.
"People are booking later all the time, there's not a lot of confidence in travelling at the moment," he said.
Mr McCallum said the number of bookings for the busy Christmas and summer period was also alarmingly low.
"Hopefully we might see some borders and metropolitan Melbourne open for Christmas," he said.
Warrnambool Holiday Park and Motel owner Steve Moore is in a similar situation. He has called on the state government to release another round of travel vouchers.
"The last round of these vouchers was a success for Warrnambool over the summer holidays and well into the early part of this year," Mr Moore said.
"These vouchers would be used to reboot the small businesses in town, which then has the flow on affect of more working hours for locals, increased job opportunities, plus these businesses will have the cashflow to then contribute back to our community by spending locally."
Booking numbers at the holiday parks run by the Warrnambool City Council are lower than other years.
"Within the school holiday bookend nights (September 17 to October 3 inclusive), including guests arriving/arrived before Friday, September 17, there are 85 room nights booked in cabins, 120 nights on powered grass sites and eight nights on powered concrete slab sites," a council spokesman said.
"Bookings are down on this time of year, particularly as a result of the restrictions still in place for Melburnians."
However, it's not all bad news, with the phones ringing off the hook at Moyne Shire-run caravan parks.
Mayor Daniel Meade said it was hoped the town would have a busy summer.
"After weeks of empty sites, our council-run caravan parks are all now open and accepting visitors from regional Victorians out of lockdown," Cr Meade said.
"We have certainly seen an increase in accommodation enquiries at all of council's Moyne Shire caravan parks and bookings for the school holiday period are steadily growing, with many regional Victorians keen to get out and travel again."
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