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  • Wotif’s 2020 Aussie Town of the Year awards announced as Aussies “fall back in love” with domestic travel

    • Wotif reveals top ten Aussie towns for 2020 as support for domestic travel renews
    • NSW tops the list for the first time, with Coffs Harbour crowned this year’s winner
    • Awards come as 12.6 million Aussies are expected to visit bushfire-affected regions in 2020
    • The search for Wotif Uniquely Aussie people’s choice awards is now on

    5 March 2020 (Sydney, AUS) – Today, leading online travel site Wotif.com reveals the winners of this year’s Wotif Aussie Town of the Year awards, a definitive ranking of the top 10 Aussie destinations for travel bucket lists in 2020, as millions of Aussies make plans to travel to and support regional communities.

    The awards recognise trending destinations for the year ahead and are aimed at encouraging Aussies to spend more time exploring and supporting local communities. The 2020 announcement comes at a particularly significant time for Australian tourism, with new research revealing that one in three Aussies say they’ve “fallen back in love with travelling in Australia” in the aftermath of the summer bushfires and ongoing drought.

    The research shows a resurgence in domestic travel, with 41% of Aussies committed to travelling more in Australia this year compared to 2019. An overwhelming number of Aussie travellers are keen to show their support by travelling to areas both directly and indirectly affected by the bushfires, with 12.6 million Australians (91% of those who travel on holidays) likely to either amend or continue their holiday plans to ensure they support the local tourism industry. This includes one-in-three (32%) who are likely to plan an additional trip to a bushfire-affected region.

    Now in its third year, the 2020 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year awards are based on a data index that recognises Australian destinations that offer good affordability, well-rated accommodation and increasing traveller interest over the last twelve months on Wotif.com.

    Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch says: “During what is an incredibly tough time for many parts of the country, this year’s awards are more relevant than ever, as a way of recognising the hard-working tourism operators and local businesses who make up Australian tourism – the driving force behind many regional communities. We know that Aussies are a resilient bunch and it’s fantastic to see this overwhelming sense of pride for all the country has to offer.

    “Australians are spoiled for choice in Australia and our annual Aussie Town of the Year initiative is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the many towns, cities and regions worthy of the spotlight. Tourism is vital to many regional communities, with a record $77.5 billion spent on domestic travel last year*, meaning Aussies have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact by choosing to holiday here this year. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a week-long escape, 2020 is the year to discover your own backyard and book a getaway that gives back.”

    The Big Bonanza for NSW North Coast

    Following Port Fairy’s (VIC) win last year, a different type of coastal town has taken out the coveted crown, with Coffs Harbour in the NSW North Coast named this year’s number one destination for Aussie travellers.

    Home to Australia’s first and most recognisable Big Thing, The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour is ripe for Aussie travellers of all ages. Located on the doorstep of lush hinterland mountains, with a coastline stretching 60km, there’s no shortage of water-based activities, action sports and wildlife encounters. With a jam-packed calendar of festivals and events and harbourside markets every Sunday, there’s no better place to explore the best of Australia than in Coffs Harbour!

    “Competition was tough, but Coffs Harbour was the pick of the bunch and a deserving winner of the Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Award for 2020. Size matters, and when it comes to hospitality, scenery and community, there’s nowhere bigger than the home of the Big Banana. We hope that it ‘apeels’ to many and encourages Aussies to get travelling to this coastal gem!” says Finch.

    Wotif 2020 Aussie Town of the Year Awards

    1. Coffs Harbour, NSW: Bananas aside, there’s something for everyone in Coffs. From intimate beaches to untamed rainforests, and perched halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, Coffs Harbour is NSW’s very own paradise of attractions.
    2. Mackay, QLD: The inaugural winner of Wotif’s Aussie Town of the Year awards in 2018, the historic town of Mackay is firmly on the radar for travelling Aussies. Located at the centre of the Queensland coast, Mackay boasts lush subtropical rainforests, national parks and a thriving public arts scene.
    3. Airlie Beach, QLD: Known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is an aquatic playground offering stunning views by day and a bustling, vibrant nightlife.
    4. Batemans Bay, NSW: Named in 1770 by Australian explorer Captain James Cook, Batemans Bay is in the heart of the Oyster Coast. It offers fresh local seafood and a great base for exploring the wonders and natural beauty of the NSW South Coast.
    5. Cairns, QLD: Famed for its access to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, these world-heritage sites stamp Cairns on the map as Australia’s nature capital with some serious adventure game.
    6. Port Fairy, VIC: Delivering old-world charm with a modern twist, Port Fairy sits on the doorstep of the famed Great Ocean Road, boasting a rich history, excellent restaurants and a charming seaside community.
    7. Albany, WA: As close as you’ll get to a historic European city in WA, Albany is the western state’s oldest European settlement, with a rich history and fantastic family appeal.
    8. Katoomba, NSW: Oh hey (three) sisters! A vibrant and historic town at the heart of the Blue Mountains, Katoomba spoils its guests with spectacular walks and lookouts, rich cultural heritage and great restaurants and bars.
    9. Margaret River, WA: You had us at Cab Sav. The Margaret River region is known for its wine, beaches and sense of adventure, all tucked away in Australia's south-west corner.
    10. Maroochydore, QLD: With its funky cafes, multicultural cuisine and thriving live music scene, Maroochydore is the cultural capital of the Sunshine Coast, where you can easily transition from an ocean dip to an evening cocktail.

    With Wotif data predicting Coffs Harbour to be one of 2020’s fastest-growing and best-value holiday spots – with year-on-year interest up 120%** and a predicted average accommodation rate on Wotif of $157 per night*** – there’s no doubt Aussies will be going bananas for the beachside city.

    Coffs Harbour City Mayor Denise Knight says: "We live in the most beautiful place in Australia and now Wotif has confirmed what we all know, naming us the number one ‘Aussie Town of the Year’. With our beautiful beaches, world-class events, delicious food, amazing nature experiences and growing art and cultural industries, it’s no surprise! We welcome all of Australia to visit our magnificent Coffs Coast."

    Rounding out the win for NSW, Batemans Bay and Katoomba also placed at the top of this year’s list. From the golden beaches on the South Coast to the spectacular vistas of the Blue Mountains, New South Wales offers diverse travel experiences, a thriving events calendar and incredible weather year-round. With so much going on, 2020 is the perfect time to explore the state.

    Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres says: “Tourism is incredibly important to many NSW towns and businesses, so now’s the time to love NSW and get out, explore our beautiful state, spend ‘locally’ and stay ‘locally’. Taking a holiday in NSW is one of the best ways for the public to support regional communities and with Coffs Harbour taking out top spot, plus Batemans Bay and Katoomba also in the top 10, this is added motivation to come and enjoy NSW.”

    After Port Fairy took out the top spot in 2019, Wotif saw accommodation interest spike by over 165%**** for the picturesque fishing town, while Port Fairy’s www.iamportfairy.com.au saw over an 85% increase in new users following the announcement, attracting a new, younger demographic*****.

    Daniel Finch says, “If the results from previous years are anything to go by, we hope the awards provide a boost to the wonderful city of Coffs Harbour and this year’s finalists, in what is going to be a particularly important year for domestic travel.”

    To discover more of this great country, check out Wotif’s round-up of 2020 Aussie Towns of the Year deals via www.wotif.com/lp/deals/aussie-town-of-the-year-2020.

    The quest to find Australia’s most ‘Uniquely Aussie’ experiences is on

    When it comes to domestic holidays, Australia is home to some seriously unique experiences. To celebrate the very best of the best, today Wotif also announces the opening of Wotif’s Uniquely Aussie Awards – which recognises some of Australia’s most loved travel experiences.

    In a bid to further encourage Aussie travellers to get out and explore the country’s local gems, Wotif is asking the public to nominate their favourite clubs, attractions and experiences across six iconic categories synonymous with a classic Aussie holiday.

    Whether it’s stopping at one of Australia’s 150+ oversized roadside attractions or discovering something new at a local market, every Aussie knows a local business worthy of the spotlight. Entries are open until 20 March 2020, with the winners announced on 7 April 2020.

    • Best Big Thing: With Wotif responsible for bringing the Big Melon to Chinchilla, QLD in 2018, it’s no secret Wotif loves a Big Thing. This year’s Aussie Town of the Year has one and 90%******of Australians have visited one. Which is your favourite?
    • Best Bowls Club: No longer just a haunt for over 60s, the local bowlo is an Aussie icon and home to many Sunday sessions. Calling all crackerjacks to back their club!
    • Best Schnitty: No matter your sauce preference, every Aussie has a favourite schnitty – the staple of any good pub menu.
    • Best Markets: Where else can you get soy candle melts, assorted leather trinkets and a box of organic tomatoes, all in the one place? Australia’s markets are one-of-a-kind and there are some stunners out there!
    • Best Potato Scallop: Cake, scallop, fritter (really, South Australia?). Call it whatever you want, Wotif wants to know where the crème de de la crème of deep-fried potato is made.
    • Best Holiday Park: The site of many great family getaways. Tell Wotif what sets your favourite caravan-friendly destination apart.

    Finch says, “Aussies are proud of their favourite haunts, and in Wotif’s continued bid to encourage more Aussies to travel domestically, we’re looking to discover the very best Australia has to offer. We want to remind Aussies how great a local getaway can be and why travelling at home is so worthwhile. We’re sure we’re going to see some worthy entries this year – so get nominating, Australia!”

    Until 20 March 2020, Aussies can nominate their favourite Uniquely Aussie experiences via www.wotif.com/aussieawards. Those who participate will also go in the running to win $2000 towards their next Wotif holiday.

    – ENDS –

    For further information or interview requests, please contact pr@wotif.com

    About the research
    Wotif research commissioned in collaboration with YouGov Galaxy, February 2020. Total sample of 1,326 Australian adults 18+ who travel away from home on holidays, distributed throughout Australia. The data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

    About Wotif’s 2020 Aussie Town of the Year index:
    Affordability: Based on the average daily rate for 3 – 5 star-rated and self-rated accommodation demand on Wotif.com from January 2019 to September 2019. Prices are in Australian dollars and are not necessarily the rates displayed on the site. Rates are subject to accommodation selections made
    Interest: Based on domestic accommodation interest on Wotif.com between January - September 2019 and January - September 2018
    Accommodation: Based on accommodation quality and deals on Wotif.com in 2019
    Reviews: Based on average traveller review ratings on Wotif.com for each destination in 2019

    Uniquely Aussie Awards Competition:
    AU residents 18+ only. Between 12am (AEDT) 5/3/20 & 11.59pm (AEDT) 20/3/20, visit www.wotif.com/aussieawards & fill out entry form inc by nominating best AU destination/item/place/business in a specified category. Max 1 entry per person. Draw: 12pm (AEDT) 3/4/20, 25/600 Bourke St, Melb 3000. Prize: $2k Wotif.com AU domestic travel credit. See www.wotif.com/lp/competition-winners on 7/4/20 for winners. Opt in to get future marketing from Promoter. See entry website for full conditions inc. privacy statement. Promoter: Expedia Australia Pty Limited (ABN 12 101 694 946), 17/1 Martin Plc, Sydney 2000. Permits: NSW LTPS/20/42494.

    *Latest National Visitor Survey, Tourism Research Australia – Year Ending June 2019
    **Based on domestic accommodation interest on Wotif.com between January – September 2019 and January – September 2018
    ***Based on the average daily rate for 3 – 5 self-rated accommodation demand on Wotif.com from January 2019 to September 2019.
    Prices are in Australian dollars and are not necessarily the rates displayed on the site. Rates are subject to accommodation selections made
    ****Based on accommodation interest on Wotif.com from 16 - 31 January 2019, compared to 16 - 31 January 2018
    *****According to searches on www.iamportfairy.com.au on 16 January 2019, compared to 16 January 2018, as cited by Moyne Shire Council
    ******Research conducted on behalf of Wotif, August 2018

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