Wings Over Illawarra in early May and events attracted to the region by Destination Wollongong and others are creating a growing demand for accommodation and an innovative holiday letting management agency is helping fill the gap.
Emerald & Aqua coastal holiday homes is among the first in the state to receive new accreditation that means it is meeting certain standards in providing a quality service to both people with homes that can be used as holiday accommodation and those who want to book them.
Managing director Greg Channer and client relations director Tanya Demello said the business only started in 2015 but presently has 40 properties on its books in the northern Illawarra between Shellharbour and Stanwell Park. But they are looking for more because the demand is so high.
Some real estate agents offer a similar service but Emerald & Aqua specialises in holiday home management. Many of its clients are people within a 300 kilometre radius of Sydney who want to spend a week or a weekend in the Wollongong and Shellharbour area.
The visitors tend to stay close to where they stay to see the local sights and dine at nearby eateries.
The Illawarra coastline is increasingly being considered as a great place to escape and relax. And Mr Channer and Ms Demello want to provide the best possible service to the the property owners and the visitors. The accommodation they provide includes a mix of permanent and seasonal property for let. Retirees who travel is a fast growing segment of property availability in the Illawarra.
“They are people who want to go away to Europe for six months or in their caravan for a few weeks and want to help pay for their holiday somehow. We have a lot of seasonal’s come on board throughout the year but mainly around Christmas,” Mr Channer said.
People with weekend getaways in the Illawarra are also letting their properties out as holiday homes when they are not using them.
The Woonona business welcomes the recent NSW Government response to a Short Term Letting Parliamentary Inquiry into short term holiday letting. Mr Channer thinks it will help them grow visitation in Wollongong and Shellharbour. The government has given qualified support to nine of 12 recommendations and three received full support. “That included qualified support to Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) under the State Environmental Planning Policy be amended to permit STRA and recommended providing clearer planning regulations to NSW councils concerning the short-term rental accommodation industry,” he said.
And that is good news because it reflects the economic value that STRA brings to the community and the development of sensible controls that grow the economic benefit within a regulatory environment.
Mr Channer said Wollongong accommodation has been constrained by the lack of available accommodation options and that will surface again when the three day Wings Over Illawarra in early May attracts up to 20,000 visitors into an area where the bed capacity for accommodation is no more than 4000.
“The Government's response could provide Wollongong lawmakers the framework needed to resolve this shortfall and support the growing Illawarra tourism industry with the right mix of regulatory and industry controls that could see a boost to the local economy,” Mr Channer said.
And that would mean more tourism related employment as the Illawarra continues the transition towards less dependence on traditional industries such as mining and steel.
“We welcome the government's response. As a holiday home letting and management agency we are already required to be registered Real Estate agents, be independently audited each year, attained quality assurance certification and comply to Holiday and Short-Term Rental Code of Conduct. We already met and exceed our existing NSW legislatively required standards and see the benefit these changes mean to the local economy and protection to consumers.”
Mr Channer said many NSW coastal councils in holiday rental hotspot areas such as the Shoalhaven, Kiama, Gosford and Pittwater have welcomed the short-term rental accommodation industry.
He said they saw the benefits to their local economies from guests who stay for longer periods at holidays houses than traditional hotel stays.
Jordan Condo, the corporate affairs director of holiday letting agency Stayz, said short term rental accommodation was a key driver of tourism in rural and regional NSW.
And Mr Channer said Illawarra’s tourism industry will be boosted by the changes.
He estimates that the holiday letting management agency he co-owns will bring in around $2.7 million a year to the Illawarra economy alone, as visitors spend their money at local cafes, restaurants and tour operators. And that will grow employment in the tourism and hospitality industry.
About Emerald & Aqua:
Emerald & Aqua manages a large network of holiday homes in the Illawarra.
It is dedicated to the sole focus of the professional management and marketing of holiday homes with the aim of increasing tourism to the Illawarra region.
It is a sales and marketing company that promotes the Illawarra as a place to "Live, Feel & Belong” like a local.
The visual experience of arriving in the Illawarra inspired the Emerald & Aqua name which reflects both the mountains and the sea.
The business is the first holiday home management agency in NSW to be awarded certification by the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program (ATAP) for exceeding the national tourism Quality Assurance.