Illawarra Tourism economy set to grow with NSW Government announcement

From: Emerald+Aqua
Published: Mon Apr 24 2017

The NSW government has released its response into the parliamentary inquiry into short-term holiday letting and gave qualified support to nine of the 12 recommendations with the other three recommendations given full support. This included qualified support given 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. Many industry observers commented that the government's response reflects the economic value that STRA brings to the economy seeking to collaboratively work with the Industry to develop sensible controls while growing the economic benefit within a regulatory environment.

Wollongong accommodation has been constrained by the lack of available accommodation options, case in point is the upcoming 3-day event Wings over Wollongong in May needs to accommodate 20,000 visitors though there is only 3000 to 4000 bed capacity amongst existing Wollongong accommodation providers.
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 and more tourism related employment as the Illawarra continues its transition from its dependence on mining and steel works.

Greg Channer, Managing Director of Emerald + Aqua Holiday Homes said: "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."

Many NSW coastal councils such as Shoalhaven, Kiama, Gosford, Pittwater all holiday rental hotspots have welcomed short-term rental accommodation industry and see and the benefits to their local economies from guests who stay for longer periods at holidays houses than traditional hotel stays and spreading more of their tourist dollars outside of the hotel complex in the broader regional economy.
"Short term rental accommodation is a key driver of tourism in rural and regional NSW," said Jordan Condo, Director of Corporate Affairs for online holiday letting agency Stayz.

Emerald & Aqua co-owner Greg Channer, who manages holiday homes in Wollongong said "the region's tourism industry would be boosted by the changes and estimated that his business alone brings in around $2.7 million a year to Illawarra’s economy directly to to the area's cafes, restaurants and tour operators providing much-needed tourist dollars and employment".

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About Emerald & Aqua:
Emerald & Aqua manages the largest network of holiday homes in the Illawarra and is dedicated to the sole focus of the professional management & marketing of holiday homes with the aim to increase the tourism of the Illawarra region. Specifically, we are a sales & marketing company that promotes the Illawarra experience engaging our customers to "Live, Feel & Belong" like a local would.

The visual experience of arriving in the Illawarra inspired our name. We get our name, Emerald & Aqua from the journey a guest experiences as they drive down through the lush ‘emerald’ rainforest of the Illawarra escarpment & glimpse the inviting ‘aqua’ of the Pacific Ocean that announces the serenity & beauty that awaits each of our guests to the Illawarra region.

Our mission is to make every coastal holiday blissful.

Adequacy of the regulation of short-term holiday letting in New South Wales:
The NSW government parliamentary inquiry into short-term holiday letting

Media enquiries contact:
Greg Channer
Managing Director
0403 032 666
02 4207 9988

Further details about Emerald + Aqua:

We are wollongong accommodation providers though we are not a traditional real estate company that’s core business is selling homes & managing a large cumbersome rent roll that dabbles in tourism & hospitality via bolting on a misaligned service of holiday letting. We only manage holiday homes; tourism is our core business & this is unique in our industry.
As you would expect there are strong benefits to both the Holiday guest & the landlords of a business that is purely dedicated to holiday home management & this is demonstrable when our performance is viewed against that of a traditional real estate company that dabbles in holiday management.

Our value proposition was developed in mid-2015 in response to the experience of family & friends when they would come to visit us in the Illawarra & look for family friendly accommodation. The choices of Wollongong accommodation was between the usual staid hotel offerings or engaging with a real estate company who has no alignment to tourism & who’s main business objective is to either to sell a property or secure a long term tenant for a property. They have no appreciation of the hospitality & tourism industries & the needs & services of tourists, resulting in a rather less than attentive & confusing experience.
Of course the alternative was to rent a holiday home directly from a home owner via Stayz or AirBnB, however this does not offer a professional experience where the paying guest can be assured that the homeowner is fully legislatively compliant & not just trying to make a couple of extra dollars on the side with none of the safeguards of a professional framework.

Initially we approached this problem through the lens of the guest, how to supply a guest with impeccable service while they enjoyed the experience of living in one of our hand picked holiday homes. And as we developed our offering we realised that we actually have another customer, the property owner. Be they be a) a property investor who’s domicile is elsewhere & they enjoy a holiday home b) a property investor who wants a greater return than the tiresome permanent rental & c) home owners who want to travel & rent our their home to pay for their holiday costs.

As property investors ourselves we have experienced the lack of focus that can occur when your property is just one of several hundred that a traditional real estate property manager is ‘managing’. Real estate investing is known to provide an attractive form of passive income, however who wants to achieve just average earnings?
As a property investor I want an active management of my investments, I don’t want the mix bag of a traditional estate agency that has ‘bolted on’ tourism hospitality to their service offering.

What is the problem that we are attempting to solve with our business?
The experience of our friends & families had when they hired a short stay holiday home illustrated to us the problem that we would go on to solve with Emerald & Aqua.
That is the traditional approach to the holiday home industry involves a real estate agent who has no training in tourism & is not aligned with hospitality. The traditional real estate agency approaches tourism from their industry perspective, delivering a service that is at odds with the tourism industry. Tourism is about delighting the customer (guest) & delivering memorable experiences where the customer is valued, returning year on year. Where as the real estate industry is about selling a home & then moving on to the next buyer, there is no longevity & the customer life cycle is short & abrupt, & this is the service than many holiday home guests were experiencing.

We understand that as a business we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us & that collectively we benefit from the success of each of us.
At Emerald & Aqua we understand the importance of the local tourism community we belong to, it is to the benefit of all that the Tourism industry in our region is supported, is vibrant & flourishes & our appreciation of the industry is one of the reason why we licensed our guest app.

Our guest app is free for all tourism related businesses to list their business details in our database & for our guests’ to search it via the guest app tourism related business in our region & to directly use their service. We make no commission of collect & fees for this service, we see it as a value added service for our guests & as a way to support the tourism industry in our region.

Company: Emerald+Aqua
Contact Name: danielmike
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: (02) 4207 9988

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