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Tourism audit focuses on Byron Bay accommodation


Brigid Veale
24 June 2005
A Southern Cross University tourism audit has found the bed space capacity in Byron Bay has increased by 11 per cent in the past six years, with 43 per cent of beds provided in camping and caravan grounds.

The audit is part of a three-year PhD study being done by lecturer Meredith Lawrence through Southern Cross University's Centre for Regional Tourism Research (CRTR). The project, titled The Byron Bay Tourism Policy, Planning and Destination Management System, is supported by the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (ST-CRC).

Ms Lawrence said preliminary figures from the Byron Bay and Suffolk Park Accommodation Audit had been made available to stakeholders within the Byron Community.

She said the audit report consisted of data gathered in the course of her PhD work and represented a snapshot of the accommodation situation in 2005.

"I hope that my PhD studies will be valuable for the Byron Bay community because of its independence and academic rigour," Ms Lawrence said.

"The more that is understood about how Byron Bay tourism systems work, the better able the community will be to engage with tourism in a positive way."

The audit found the town has 766 visitor accommodation establishments offering 10,003 bed spaces, with an increase in the bed space capacity of 11 per cent in the six years since a previous accommodation audit was conducted by Abnett Consulting Pty Ltd.

Overall it found that Byron Bay's caravan and camping grounds provided 43 per cent of the visitor accommodation, holiday houses and apartments accounted for 35 per cent, whilst traditional facilities of hotels, motels, resorts and B&B establishments accounted for only 22 per cent.

Six precincts were identified and analysed. The Byron Bay CBD precinct offers all accommodation types and accounts for 27 per cent of accommodation within the destination. This precinct is dominated by holiday apartment accommodation representing 37 per cent of accommodation within this precinct, with hostel accommodation accounting for 25 per cent.

The Watego's/Lighthouse Road area and residential precincts were dominated by holiday house and apartment accommodation. Caravan and camping park facilities accounted for 53 per cent of accommodation in Suffolk Park, with holiday houses and apartments accounting for 35 per cent.

The audit also examined the scale of visitor accommodation in residential zones and revealed that 17 per cent (331 properties offering 1713 bed spaces) of all visitor accommodation is situated in residential 2(a) zones.

Copies of the full report titled 'Byron Bay and Suffolk Park Visitor Accommodation Audit: Occasional Paper' can be sourced from the Southern Cross University Library.