THE charms of a summer in the south-west are still strong, according to district accommodation operators.
Seaview Lodge owner and Portland Tourist Association president Dennis Carr said accommodation was packed at Cape Bridgewater.
Speaking as PTA president, Mr Carr said the other accommodation operators he had spoken to were booked out at the moment.
“I’m basically booked out from December 20 to January 13,” Mr Carr said.
“We have the odd empty room for one night here or there but otherwise we’re full.”
He said all the self-contained houses at Bridgewater were full, too.
Mr Carr said international tourists account for about 40 per cent of his business.
“The increase in Chinese visitors has been astronomical,” Mr Carr said.
“One Chinese lady from Shanghai was about 70 and just sat out on the balcony at night. She hadn’t seen stars since she was a teenager.”
Mr Carr said there were also lots of English, Dutch and German visitors and some Americans.
“They mostly find us through word-of-mouth and the internet,” Mr Carr said.
While international guests congregate at Bridgewater, Narrawong attracts the local crowd.
Narrawong Holiday Park owner Daryl Barras said the majority of his visitors were from Portland, followed by Mount Gambier, Hamilton and Warrnambool. Only 10 per cent of his visitors were from metropolitan Melbourne.
Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.