Strong visitor market and accommodation sector supports thriving economy

Peak times such as the New Year’s long weekend have the potential to triple the overnight population in Greater Geelong’s bayside holiday towns and more than double numbers along the Bellarine coast.

New data (2023 Peak overnight population – Barwon region estimate) prepared by the City to assist with planning for tourism, infrastructure, utilities and emergencies shows the Barwon region’s overnight population could jump by 50 percent to more than 575,000 people during holiday periods and major events.

The total overnight population for Greater Geelong and the Borough of Queenscliffe could swell to just over 400,000 people during peak times.

The Bellarine Peninsula could more than double its permanent population to 127,000 with 66,550 visitors flooding holiday homes, caravan parks, hotels, motels and guest houses.

Urban Geelong claims the highest total peak overnight population during busy periods at 270,140 with capacity for 41,890 visitors to stay overnight in accommodation and holiday homes.

The popularity of our region continues to positively impact employment and our hospitality, tourism, retail and cultural sectors since the end of COVID restrictions.

The latest insights released by Tourism Research Australia are encouraging, with Geelong and The Bellarine recording 6.2 million visitors this year—which trails slightly behind the 2019 pre-pandemic high of 6.4 million.

Domestic visitor nights saw a 12 percent uptick on 2019, now sitting at 4.7 million, with spend climbing 33 percent now at $1.7 billion.

According to Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine’s (TGGB) new Sustainable Destination Master Plan, the future of the region’s visitor economy looks bright, with visitor days expected to grow by almost 50 percent; from 9.2 million in 2023 to 13.6 million by 2032 when combining daytrips and visitor nights.

Our visitor economy will be worth up to $2.1 billion annually to the local economy over the next decade.

New accommodation offerings are set to assist the region to meet the needs of future visitors and support TGGB’s target of achieving an additional 2,200 rooms by 2032 to meet demand.

The Holiday Inn & Suites Geelong (180 rooms) and Quest Central Geelong (87 rooms) recently opened in central Geelong and the future Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre will feature a Crowne Plaza hotel (200 rooms).

Mayor Trent Sullivan

The figures reflect how vital the visitor economy is for Greater Geelong and the Bellarine.

Our region is a premier tourist and major event destination for people of all ages and backgrounds with exciting attractions, experiences and local businesses to explore at your doorstep.

Greater Geelong has a vast range of quality accommodation providers suiting all budgets in prominent and hidden locations, and work continues across the region to ensure future accommodation demands will be met.

The Spirit of Tasmania and the redeveloped Geelong Arts Centre have opened up a new market of visitors for us and the opening of Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre is set to do the same – this is in an exciting time!

Deputy Mayor Anthony Aitken – Chair of the Strong Economy portfolio

Having a strong visitor market and accommodation sector supports a thriving local economy.

We can expect a significant population jump during the Christmas period, Melbourne Cup weekend, the Festival of Sails and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race just to name a handful.

Our stunning natural landscapes, north-facing bay and diverse range of cultural and sporting activities continue to attract more people, leading to a positive knock-on economic effect in our region.

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