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Byron Bay clicks with visitors

By David Gordon

Byron Bay was the third most searched holiday destination on Google for Australians in 2011, tourism website Travel Trends has revealed.

And it took a couple of pretty special places – Hamilton Island and Hawaii, at one and two respectively – to keep Byron out of the top spot.

Then came the Blue Mountains, Port Douglas, Hayman Island, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, New York and Las Vegas.

Even with a strong Aussie dollar sending many locals overseas, seven out of the top 10 travel destinations searched were Australian.

Byron Bay Visitors Centre manager Jill Kelly said the online marketing potential for Byron Bay was huge.

“Holidaymakers start checking online about three months ahead of time looking to book accommodation so there is a huge opportunity there for us,” she said.

“We are currently developing a whole new online marketing strategy.

“We are also the second-most-visited visitor centre in Australia with 220,000 walking through the door every year.”

A recent survey of visitors to Byron shire showed they were attracted to the region for the “variety of things to see and do” and because it was a great place for a family holiday.

Roy Morgan Research International says the internet is now the preferred method for researching and booking a holiday.

Using the internet to book accommodation allows the consumer to search for discounts and special deals.

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