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Capes WA hotspot | The West Australian

A major online booking agency has listed locations in the Capes region as the three most sought-after tourism hotspots in Western Australia.

The agency revealed Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River as leading the State in international and interstate visitor holiday interest, knocking Broome from the top spot.

Booking.com’s Future of Travel report ranked Busselton as the most searched destination in the State, with Dunsborough ranking second and Margaret River third.

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association co-chief executive Sharna Kearney said the region was “well positioned” for the top spot.

“For Busselton to claim the title of most searched regional destination in WA is an incredibly strong indicator of this destination’s appeal in the current travel environment,” she said.

The report uncovered the top trends for the next 12 months of travel, with prospective venturers appreciating convenience and expressing an inclination for heightened travel safety in the COVID-19 pandemic climate.

Ms Kearney said it was clear travellers were seeking safety and sustainability.

“Travellers are seeking holidays where they can connect with nature and enjoy clean air … with credentials around safety and sustainability growing in importance,” she said.

The other seven hotspots in the top 10 were Broome, Albany, Mandurah, Rottnest Island, Yallingup, Esperance, and Bunbury.

With borders set to open with NSW and Victoria on Tuesday, tourism and accommodation providers in the Capes are bracing for a long-awaited boom period.

Residential Accommodation Providers Margaret River Region director Debbie Noonan said she was not surprised by the report.

“With the up-and-coming Christmas and school holidays, these three destinations have always been booked out well in advance,” Ms Noonan said.

The tourism booking boom comes as the region sees a critical accommodation shortage, with most hotels and caravan parks booked out months in advance.

Broadwater Resort managing director Evan Lewis said his business experienced an influx of cancellations when the interstate borders relaxed, but these were quickly replaced with Eastern States bookings.

“We have received many bookings from Queensland and Tasmania,” he said.

“This started happening as soon as the border relaxation was announced.”

Mr Lewis said the findings of the report were parallel with the sales and purchases Broadwater Resort was experiencing for the summer period.

The report emerged just as plans to restart Busselton to Melbourne Jetstar flights were announced, with travel between the two cities set to take off in the first quarter of next year.

Jet Adventures director and skipper Peter Kalbfell said the return of Melbourne to Busselton flights was great news.

“I can see why people are so keen to travel here,” he said.

Booking.com area manager for Australia Luke Wilson said the need for travel amid the pandemic had been “keenly” felt by all Australians.

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