ORANGE is home to more than 20 per cent of the region’s Airbnb properties, with the number of privately-hosted short-stay rentals in the city almost tripling in the past three years.
There are more than 1000 Airbnb properties dotted across the Central West, which industry experts claim have become a vital drawcard in bringing visitors to the region.
Orange houses 218 of the region’s 1018 listed properties, a strong increase on the 77 registered in January, 2016.
Among Central West centres only Bathurst (278) and Mudgee (234) have a greater number of Airbnb rentals.
If this is increasing the number of bed nights in the region, then surely it brings in an economic benefit.SW Business Chamber Western NSW regional manager Vicki Seccombe
Dubbo has 98 properties listed, while there are 60 in Lithgow/Hartley, 23 each in Parkes and Forbes, and 20 in Young.
There are also properties in Canowindra (16), Oberon (13) and less than 10 listed in Blayney, Boorowa, Cowra, Grenfell, Narromine, Nyngan and Wellington.
NSW Business Chamber Western NSW regional manager Vicki Seccombe said depending on what side of the fence your sit, the rise of the Airbnb market had brought positives and negatives to the tourism market.
For travellers, she said it offers them a whole new range of accommodation options in unique places they may never get the chance to visit.
“The things that they [travellers] don’t get out of an Airbnb is a lot of the hotel operators know a lot about their local region and can give recommendations,” she said.
“It makes it a bit harder for traditional tourism operators,” Ms Seccombe said of the increased competition.
In addition, she said hotels and other traditional accommodation providers were subject to strict regulations while Airbnb properties and their operators were not.
Central NSW Councils tourism portfolio mayor Bill West said it was a good thing for travellers to have additional accommodation choices, especially in a region which has events that attract large numbers of people for short periods of time.
“There is always concern for existing businesses, however, it’s also about market choice,” he said.
Mr West said some tourism experts did not regard Airbnb as important to the visitor economy.
“The only accommodation counted in the National Visitor Survey by Tourism Research Australia was 15 rooms and over,” he said.
“The vast majority of accommodation in this region is much smaller.
If they [tourists] haven’t somewhere to stay they wouldn’t come and they’re still spending money in our towns.NSW Business Chamber Western NSW regional manager Vicki Seccombe
“We also know most visitors are friends and relatives of people in our community, therefore the value of tourism to our community is seriously undervalued and this has knock-on effects for ongoing investment in the region.”
Ms Seccombe said that despite the increased competition for traditional accommodation operators, that having the online accommodation portal had a significant flow-on economic boost for the Central West.
“If this is increasing the number of bed nights in the region, then surely it brings in an economic benefit,” she said.
“If they [tourists] haven’t somewhere to stay they wouldn’t come and they’re still spending money in our towns.”
“We are punching above our weight where our biggest challenge is the mid-week market rather than seasonal,” he said.
“Holding events during the week is very helpful here.”
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