Albury pips Wollongong as holiday destination

The regional border town of Albury has overtaken Wollongong in a survey of the top 10 NSW holiday destinations.

Wollongong was the seventh most popular city according to Wotif.com's 2012 top destinations list, based on more than 260,000 bookings per month made on the website.

Albury was sixth, behind Sydney, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Byron Bay.

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It would appear attractions such as the Murray River, the Wonga Wetlands and the Hume Dam are more attractive to holidaymakers than Wollongong's coastline of beaches and stretches of lush escarpment.

But Destination Wollongong general manager Mark Sleigh dismissed suggestions Albury was the more attractive holiday spot.

"It's in the middle of nowhere, but if you're driving from Sydney to Melbourne you've got to stop somewhere, and Albury is probably close enough to halfway," he said.

He said the results could also reflect Wollongong's relative closeness to Sydney.

"Our big challenge is our proximity to Sydney, so the opportunity for Wollongong is to be able to bring people here to showcase activities on day trips," he said.

"The next part of that challenge is leveraging the success we're having with events and be able to keep [visitors] here for a longer period."

He said Destination Wollongong hoped to capitalise on clusters of events, such as last year's Billycart Derby, University of Wollongong celebrity cricket, Hawks basketball, Camp Quality Convoy and Viva La Gong, which fell within a few days of one another, to attract more overnight visitors.

Mr Sleigh said Wollongong tourism was rising despite the city's fall on Wotif's annual list, noting that the site was just one way for people to book accommodation.

"There's hundreds of online resources out there and major hotel chains, of which we are lucky enough to have a couple, also tend to rely on their own websites," he said.

Mr Sleigh also said that the majority of small caravan parks and hotels did not rely on the use of the site, and although it was a valuable channel, it was certainly not the only channel available.

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