VISITATION: Byron continues to attract huge visitor numbers.
VISITATION: Byron continues to attract huge visitor numbers. Christian Morrow

REVEALED: Short term holiday rental stays booming in the Bay

VISITOR numbers have in Byron Bay have jumped nearly 70% over the past seven years with 950,000 domestic overnight visitors now staying in Short Term Holiday Rentals annually.

New figures from Destination Byron reveal that since 2012 total visitor numbers to Byron Bay have grown from around 1.3million in 2012 up to to 2.2million in 2019.

In comparison Noosa's total visitor numbers grew 35% from around 1.7million up to 2.3million in the same period.

The new research, Byron Shire Tourism Monitor June 2019, is available on Destination Byron's website.

Overall Byron Bay hosts 4.3 million visitor nights per year compared to Tweed with 2.3 million, Ballina with 1.2 million and Lismore with 670,000.

Meanwhile in Queensland, the Gold Coast hosts 22.7 million and Noosa 4.5 million visitor nights.

President of Destination Byron, David Jones said the shire welcomes three main visitor types: Day Visitors; Domestic Overnight; and International Overnight.

"Over the past seven years day visitor numbers are up 48% to 1million in 2019, international overnight visitors are up by 49% to 225,000 but domestic overnight visitors have grown a massive 127% to 1million.

Mr Jones said domestic demand was booming with nights spent by accommodation type broken down into: 40% Rented House: 22% Friends or Relatives home; 14% Hotel, Motel or Serviced Apartment; 12% Caravan/Camping; and 12% Backpacker.

"Hotel room supply has grown from 1,200 rooms in 2012 up to 1,500 rooms in 2019 and annual hotel and serviced apartment occupancies have been stable at around 65-70% during this period,” he said.

"Where is all the surplus demand staying? The answer is 'Short Term Holiday Rentals with about 250,000 visitors staying in hotels, motels or serviced Apartments verse 950,000 people who stay in Short Term Holiday Rentals.”

Mr Jones said Byron's attractiveness to the South-East Queensland population was strong with our northern neighbours seeking a connection to nature and wanting to experience Byron's diverse culture.

"Improved road connectivity and to a lesser extent, population growth also contribute to the growth,” he said.

"Residents of SE Queensland grew from 3.1 million in 2012 to 3.5 million in 2018.

"In terms of International visitors we welcomes around 200,000 per annum compared to Noosa with 155,000 annually.

Byron's share of international visitors to the North Coast Region sits around 62%. Backpackers are thought to make up about 30% of the international market.