Tourism in Daylesford is booming. Last weekend’s spectacular weather saw visitors flock to Daylesford. The impossibility of an international holiday and the risks of going interstate make Daylesford an attractive option.
Vincent Street, the Wombat Gardens, the Lake and the Sunday Market were busy. Train rides were running and there was a variety of food, clothing, books, craft, tools, art and knick knack at the markets. Many of the food stalls at the market had sold out by 11.30.
Accommodation providers report that April was “incredibly busy”. Holiday accommodation occupancy rates are high, even on a Sunday night, when the town is traditionally quiet, occupancy rates are reaching 50%. Accommodation providers report that increasingly people who work from home take the opportunity to work from Daylesford on the Monday instead.
The local experience is being mirrored in regional areas within a few hours drive of Melbourne.
The new boom is a dramatic turn around from last year when Covid brought visits to a stand still. The change is welcome for local businesses and employment.
But the boom in visitors is creating challenges. A number of accommodation and hospitality businesses are finding it hard to get staff, including cleaners, serving staff and support workers. Some restaurants and cafes have had to limit their opening hours because they can’t get staff. It is now difficult to get into many of the local restaurants – even on weekdays.
Traffic is also heavy. Cars were backed up at both round-abouts and at the Markets.