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and tourism is a labour intensive industry. It offers part-time and
casual employment suiting younger people from larger towns
and cities who are already attracted to such coastal and country
tourist areas for the lifestyle.
When the number of tourists to an area starts to rise, one of the
first noticeable effects on housing is that the growth in rental
demand quickly exceeds the number of tourist arrivals, because
of young opportunity seekers moving to the area.
The rise in rental demand is closely followed by an increase in
demand for owner-occupied housing generated by the owners
and managers of new business enterprises, so we notice that
the growth in rental demand is then accompanied by more
demand for owner-occupied housing.
The growth in diversity and availability of recreational and
entertainment facilities also attracts more local and interstate
tourists. Some of these holidaymakers are then tempted to
buy a holiday home, investment property or future retirement
retreat in these locations.
As the demand for both rentals and bought properties
continues to rise, the area comes under the notice of
developers who can take opportunities to build medium to
high-rise unit developments and house-and-land packages on
new housing estates.
These are predominantly marketed to future retirees and
investors, and as the popularity of the locality grows, project
marketers will sell many of these as off-the-plan investments to
This is how the demand for property in a tourist boom
location gradually shifts from renters to investors and can
ultimately result in most properties being purchased by
overseas investors who are relying purely on advertised
information and hearsay, and have limited knowledge of the
local housing market’s dynamics.
This succession of housing demand waves caused by the
main players during each stage in the life cycle of a tourism
location is shown in Figure 3 and indicates that the period of
greatest sales is made to investors and often occurs when the
tourist boom is declining and real demand is falling.
Such a sequence of events took place in the Gold Coast
housing market starting from 2000/01 with strong housing
price and rent growth until the onset of the GFC in 2008/09 saw
both retiree and overseas investor numbers fall dramatically.
The resultant oversupply of high-rise units reached chronic
proportions in the following years and may take several more
years to recover.
Yet the Gold Coast has experienced several past housing
booms and busts, as have many other holiday and resort
locations in Australia.
One of the main reasons for this is that overseas tourists tend
to favour destinations which best meet their needs for a perfect
holiday and as the numbers of tourists from different countries
has changed, so have their preferred destinations in Australia.
¿ WHERE WILL OVERSEAS TOURISTS COME FROM IN
In years past, Australia was popular with tourists from Japan,
the US and Europe for specific reasons such as honeymoon
locations, the outback, Great Barrier Reef, golf courses, fly-
fishing, big game fishing, casinos, theme parks and the
opportunity to enjoy opulent, luxurious accommodation and
dining at comparatively low prices.
This led to the creation of resorts specifically designed to
cater for these needs stretching all the way from Tarraleah
in southern Tasmania to the Port Douglas Mirage Resort in
The falling away of tourist numbers to such locations in recent
years has been due to a combination of the high Aussie dollar
and post-GFC economic recessions in Japan and the US. The
Bureau of Tourism Research has conducted in-depth surveys
to ascertain not only where overseas tourists have come from
in the past but where they’re likely to come from in the future.
The results are shown in Figure 4 and indicate that while the
numbers of tourists from Japan and the US aren’t likely to return
to their pre-GFC boom levels in the near future, the number of
tourists from China is already rising dramatically.
In fact, the Bureau forecasts that by 2020 the number of yearly
Chinese tourist arrivals will exceed 1.5 million. Over half of the
expected Chinese tourist arrivals will be aged under 35 and
three quarters will come from the cities of Shanghai, Beijing
and Guangzhou. All of this is highly significant, because these
are three of the five Chinese cities charged with leading and
developing the political, economic and cultural future of China.
The populations of these three huge cities total nearly three
times that of Australia and comprise many of China’s rapidly
growing aspiring and current middle class residents. They work
and live in some of the most densely urbanised cities in the
world and so when they go on holidays, they prefer something
quite different – natural environments and locations with
unspoilt beauty, as Figure 5 shows.
FIG 3: THE LIFE CYCLE OF A TYPICAL TOURIST TOWN
BOOMING ESTABLISHED DECLINING
FIG 4: PAST AND PREDICTED OVERSEAS TOURIST ARRIVALS
FIG 5: WHAT CHINESE TOURISTS WANT IN A HOLIDAY DESTINATION
World class beauty and natural environment
Safety and security
Good food, wine and cuisine
Friendly and open locals
Native and cultural heritage activities
Rich history and cultural heritage
Clean and well signposted locations
Spectacular coastal scenery
Different and interesting wildlife
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