TOURISM OPERATOR: A Perfect Stay CEO and Northern Rivers resident, Colin Hussey.
TOURISM OPERATOR: A Perfect Stay CEO and Northern Rivers resident, Colin Hussey.

Company fights back against ‘anti-tourist’ feeling in Byron

BYRON-based holiday property management company A Perfect Stay is not taking leisure bookings, but it is helping international guests "trapped" in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colin Hussey, A Perfect Stay's chief executive, said they had international guests who could not leave the country in almost every destination they operated in.

The company offers close to 300 properties from Melbourne to Brisbane, with 150 of them in the Byron Bay and Lennox Head areas.

"We do have some guests that are kind of trapped," he said.

"We have some guests that have remained in because they are stuck here. They can't get back home to their international destinations."

Mr Hussey said the company has looked for solutions for the visitors.

"We have asked the owners if they would be prepared to drop the typical holiday rental rate, and we have been able to offer those guests a more appropriate rate, given the circumstances.

"We are trying to assist anyone who is in any kind of trouble or need support.

"There is one group of Russian families, and other from other parts of the globe.

"Russia just closed its borders, but even if that wasn't the case, there is no flights, they cannot leave.

"Some of these people may have had a four-month itinerary, like those people stuck on cruise ships ... they were all here prior to all of this happening."

The executive said there seemed to be an anti-tourist feeling within the community.

"I understand people are focused on stopping the spread of the virus, but there is a humanitarian side of this some people are displaced, stuck here, and they do need help," he said.

Mr Hussey said the company was not offering tourism bookings in the area for this Easter period.

"We are not taking leisure bookings, we are not getting them, you can't travel," he said.

"Ninety-five per cent of our market is domestic in Byron Bay, and five per cent is international, but you can't drive and you can't fly here, and it has been very clear that you can't travel for leisure purposes."