The 44-room Marina Resort in Nelson Bay was recently purchased by the Doma Group and Bartlett Group.

Real estate agents in regional parts of Australia are reporting overwhelming enquiry levels from investors eager to snap up hotels, motels and pubs to capitalize on long-term prosperity of regional tourism.

With international travel off the cards for most of the past 18 months, regional destinations have been inundated with new visitor markets, leading to exponential growth figures and record high occupancy and RevPAR levels, outside of lockdown periods. These figures are catching the attention of investors large and small from all over the world.

At the same time, regional councils are expediting new development and renovation applications to make strong use of new capital streams, which are being coupled with greater investment into development of supporting infrastructure such as roads and transport services.

Best Western is one brand that has been active in regional Australia for decades.

Manenti Quinlan and Associates Director, Ray Larkin, said the company has never seen the growth levels it is seeing now, with demand for regional investments going through the roof.

“Buyers are actively looking for properties to invest in because they can see the type of growth that can be achieved and the level of demand that is currently being experienced and is likely to continue well into the future,” Larkin said.

“Our recent sale of the Marina Resort in Nelson Bay is a great example. The property listed for AUD$10,500,000 and we were overwhelmed with enquiries from interested parties.”

The 44-room Marina Resort was purchased by Doma Group, in partnership with the Bartlett Group. Doma Group owns and operates hotels in Sydney, Canberra and several regional locations under a variety of brands including Hotel Realm and Little National. The company is increasingly active in the area and is well underway with plans to develop another Little National Hotel in nearby Newcastle.

Doma Group CEO, Jure Domazet.

Stephen Bartlett of the Bartlett Group said he was delighted to add the Marina Resort to its property portfolio.

“It is a much-loved part of the local community, and we are looking forward to undertaking improvement works to position the property as the region’s leading resort-style accommodation offering,” he said.

“The property already holds development approval to increase the hotel from 44 rooms to 80. We will be commencing works early next year. This will include expanding and upgrading the number of rooms, adding restaurants and bars and renovating the conference facilities, pool and garden areas.

“The property will be upgraded from a 3.5-star hotel to a 4.5 resort-style hotel that is ideal for holiday goers as well as functions, events and conferences.”

Larkin added that local communities will be the big winners from the new investment coming in from local, regional and international funds, with new jobs, dining venues and recreational facilities to be delivered.