Over-tourism in Australian coastal towns driving locals out

Australian holiday destinations that were once desperate for tourists at the height of the coronavirus

Australian holiday destinations that were once desperate for tourists at the height of the coronavirus pandemic are now having an issue with over-tourism.

Rod Ritchie, who has lived in Queensland coastal hotspot Noosa for 25 years, said locals along the coast right down to Victoria have lost their suburbs to the post-COVID boom and evolution of accommodation services like Airbnb.

But Rod told Today he and other locals “aren’t anti-tourist, they’re pro-resident”.

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Pandemic continues to drive city-dwellers to regional Australia
Noosa locals are suffering due to over-tourism. (Unsplash)

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“We don’t want tourists to stay away, we want residents to reclaim their suburbs,” Rod told Today.

Rod said the issue has caused an affordable housing crisis for locals and he wants the state government to give local councils some power to get residents into suburbs that have proper amenities and “aren’t just mini tourist zones”.

“Our neighbours’ houses are turned over to Airbnb and basically the people that want jobs, the people that work in our other industries like health and construction and education can’t find somewhere to live,” he said.

Busy Sorrento beach in Victoria. 26th December 2022, The Age news Picture by JOE ARMAO
Rod said beachside suburbs all the way down to Victoria are feeling the pressure. (Joe Armao/The Age)

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And while the end of the pandemic has accelerated the over-tourism issue, Australian Traveller’s Quentin Long said it has been happening for years.

“The problem is that it’s faster than it has been and people are blaming social media and influencers,” he said.

“That’s obviously part of the problem, but the local government has to put in place some things that protect local communities.

“We want thriving local communities that welcome tourists, like Rod said, but we have to balance that out against the infrastructure we need in those coastal towns.”

See what else Rod and Quentin had to say in the video above

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