WINTER SCHOOL holiday numbers in the Macleay region have dipped because of the new COVID outbreak. With Gladys Berejiklian announcing a further two weeks of lockdown in Greater Sydney.
But planned holidays have been "delayed not cancelled", according to Peter Khoury, head of media at NRMA, who run a number of tourism parks in Kempsey Shire.
The parks under the NRMA umbrella are: Crescent Head, Hat Head, Horseshoe Bay, Grassy Head and Stuarts Point.
"There has been a 20 per cent decline in Macleay in the overall bookings in July, but across the board we are noticing people are actually pushing their bookings back," Mr Khoury told the Argus.
With tourism being a huge part of the Mid North Coast economy, Mr Khoury noted while it "might be slower now, the overall bookings are significantly up on pre-COVID levels because everyone is holidaying local".
Trent Munro who runs the South West Rocks Surf Academy said "a lot of our tourists come from the Gold Coast, Sydney and Melbourne, and as expected we have seen a significant drop in inquiries and bookings across the board."
This sentiment resonates with Rae Barnett, the owner of Barnett's Bakery in Crescent Head.
"We have seen a change as there's not as many people in the caravan parks, it definitely was quieter - but we've been able to keep our staff," Ms Barnett said.
Nearly half Australia's tourism expenditure (46 per cent or $107 billion) occurs in the regions.
Regional tourism directly employs more than 530,000 people in related industries, more than mining and more than forestry, agriculture and fishing combined.
Australians took 8.4 million overnight trips in March 2021, stayed 28.9 million nights and spent $6 billion.
Compared to a COVID-19 affected March 2020, there was a 37 per cent uptick in overnight trips, a 35 per cent rise in nights stayed and a 58 per cent spend increase in 2021.
Australians took 3.1 million overnight trips to capital cities (up 35 per cent on 2020) and spent $2.4 billion (up by a third)
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