ACCOMMODATION across Warrnambool and the south-west is expected to reach capacity with pre-COVID levels this summer and holiday period.
Warrnambool City Council director of city growth Andrew Paton told The Standard people travel from Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton, as well as from interstate, to the region.
He said tourists were expected to visit the Surf Coast, Glenelg, Corangamite, Colac Otway, Moyne and Warrnambool areas, with Warrnambool's population alone increasing by 15,000 people.
Mr Paton said summer bookings for the council-run Surfside Holiday Park and Shipwreck Bay Holiday Park's were full. "At this stage, we're at full capacity from Boxing Day until the end of January, unless there are cancellations," he said.
"There's a full range across the 1100 sites of the two parks ranging from overnight stays to the whole summer period, with the majority staying being between one and two weeks."
He said of the 2890 summer bookings, almost 90 per cent were booked 12 months in advance, an increase from last year due to capacity limits. "This year is in line with previous peak seasons with demand high for any cancelled sites," he said.
For New Years Eve, there will be 2750 guests across the two holiday parks.
Owner of Warrnambool-based Comfort Inn On Raglan owner Steve Palmer said there was only "a few" rooms left for the NYE period, with the majority of them traveling from Melbourne. "Ninety per cent of Warnnambool's business comes from Melbourne," he said.
Mr Palmer said people were booking their stays for longer periods than previous years, generally staying for four or five days, where previously they stayed for two or three days. "The two weeks after Christmas is the height of the busy season," he said.
Mr Palmer said pre-covid, bookings also came from international tourists who were travelling along the Great Ocean Road, with only a small percentage continuing their travels onto Warrnambool. "This year the international borders are still locked," he said.
Port Campbell Parkview Motel and Apartments manager Sue Parrey said she still had a few rooms available, but said she hoped to be fully booked for the NYE period.
"I think we're going pretty well at the moment," she told The Standard. "There seems to be a lot of people coming into town, which is good for the local businesses."
Ms Parrey said the majority of bookings came from people travelling from Melbourne, who would generally stay at the accommodation service for three or four days.
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