HOTELS in capital cities are set to benefit from a wave of Asian tourists and business visitors over the next three years, pushing the percentage of rooms that are occupied to record highs, a new report says.
But in a sign of the stark differences between parts of the tourism industry, hotels in regional areas are expected to miss out on much of the growth.
The Asia boom has created headaches for tourism operators by boosting the dollar, but a report from Deloitte Access Economics shows how some parts of the industry are also benefiting from the boom. It predicts the national hotel room occupancy rate will hit 67 per cent in March 2015, after hitting a record high of 65.8 per cent in the March quarter this year.
Strong growth in tourist arrivals from Asia and mining-related corporate travel, alongside weak investment, were the main reasons for the forecast.
''This positive outlook reflects both increasing demand for rooms on the back of forecast growth in the international visitor market and relatively weak investment in new capacity,'' a director of economics at Deloitte, Lachlan Smirl, said.
Hotels in Perth are the most heavily-booked in the country, and are expected to be pushed closer to capacity. Occupancy rates in the mining capital are expected to reach 88 per cent next year, and hotel room rates to soar by more than 10 per cent a year.
Melbourne and Sydney hotels were also tipped to experience solid growth, with occupancy rates forecast to hit 84.6 per cent and 88 per cent by 2015, respectively.
On the other hand, conditions were much weaker outside the cities, with occupancy rates forecast to remain below 60 per cent in most regional areas.
Tropical North Queensland had an occupancy rate of 57 per cent in the previous quarter, below its historical average, and this was expected to rise 66 per cent by 2015.