Action needed on Geelong’s hotel room drought

The Geelong region needs more than 1560 extra accommodation rooms in order to meet its tourism ­potential, according to a new report.

The region is experiencing a tourism boom, with current visitation exceeding 5.8 million visitors a year, a number which is expected to increase to 7.5 million by 2027.

To meet that need, a further 1564 guest rooms will be needed in the Geelong and the Bellarine region by 2027, according to the Greater Geelong and the Bellarine Tourism Development Plan — Final Report 2019-22.

The report, compiled by Urban Enterprise and commissioned by Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine, counted 257 establishments across a range of accommodation types, with a total of 5590 rooms, including caravan sites. There were an additional 1055 Airbnb homes.

“Airbnb is a significant contributor to the tourism economy, however it is highly seasonal in all regions apart from Geelong, which experiences a consistent level of visitation throughout the year,” the report said.

“Although Airbnb plays a significant role in tourism, it is unregulated and disconnected from tourism in Greater Geelong and the Bellarine.”

The report said that further investment was needed particularly in experiential, boutique, 4.5-5 star branded hotels and quality budget accommodation to meet projected overnight accommodation needs.