COMPLAINT ABOUT COMPLAINTS
I've grown tired of Australian travellers complaining about high prices and/or low service in their own country, as if similar grouches can't be levelled at other destinations. My experience tells me it all depends on choice in respect to what you want to do and see. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars on overseas travel, all of it thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile - five African countries, the UK, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and more than three years living and working in PNG. I've spent comparatively tiny amounts on Australian holidays and destinations, including seven years living and working in Melbourne and Darwin, and in my home city. My Aussie holidays have been in every state and territory and all thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile and I've never had reason to complain about either overseas or Australian prices and service.
John Milbank, Adelaide, SA
INNS AND OUTS
As a hotelier, I wanted to respond to a letter (Traveller letters, October 24) complaining about the cost of hotels. The price for most goods and services is largely determined by the costs of production, which is usually passed on to the consumer and no one bats an eyelid. Our industry is one of a few where price is mostly determined by demand. Sadly, many people are taking advantage of the pandemic, demanding rooms for unfair and unreasonable rates while still complaining about the cost. Most hotels don't own their properties and pay rent, which is a significant expense, especially in the Sydney market. It really adds up when you also factor in wages, amenities, linen, maintenance, utilities, COVID-19 safety measures and the like. Our expenses continue to rise while we are unable to increase the price of our product from historic lows because of the low demand. When JobKeeper and rental relief ends, many more of us will be unable to survive. Our industry will be one of the last to recover from the pandemic, so please have some empathy and support us, our jobs and our families.
Alan Smithee, Sydney, NSW
Why hasn't the Australian government set up user-pays COVID-19 testing at airports for all returning passengers? In Ghana, where I'm based, you require a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of departure to board your flight. For those inbound to Ghana, you are tested at the airport (user-pays) and you get your result in 20 minutes. Negative, you head home. Positive, you do 14-days' quarantine in a government-designated hotel. Seems the best strategy all round.
Dr Ken Darvall, Tema, Ghana
Deborah Luxemburg (Traveller letters, October 24) complains about pets or pet hair in places she has booked. As there are very few people who are allergic to pet hair, surely it is Deborah's responsibility to check when booking, especially in terms of B&B accommodation, that there are no pets in the vicinity or are allowed to stay. People who let their homes or parts of their homes as B&B accommodation could have all sorts of pets.
Rosemary Macey, Turramurra, NSW
STAYCATION NATION I
We recently drove a short 35 minutes from home to stay overnight at the Travelodge in Wynyard, Sydney a perfect location for a short city stay for a night or more. It was so easy to walk to Circular Quay and the Opera House, the Queen Victoria Building and the Art Gallery of NSW where we thoroughly enjoyed viewing the Archibald Prize finalists' amazing portraits. We had a lovely breakfast in Margaret Street, lunch in the sun at the gallery, a peaceful walk through the Domain and dinner at the Quay. All were terrific and there were no crowds.
Kerrie Wehbe, Blacktown NSW
STAYCATION NATION II
I've travelled abroad but lived in Sydney all my life and consider it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. My partner and I regularly stay in the city and surrounds. Living in the suburbs and spending more time working from home means a staycation provides a welcome mental and visual break. There are currently some bargains to be found and at attractive times of the year, however overall I feel accommodation providers could be doing more to entice city dwellers to stay over both to increase their occupancy rates and the patronage of local establishments. A recent overnight stay in Coogee saw us have drinks at the hotel, taxi to the Sydney Cricket Ground, breakfast in a cafe and visit the butcher and grocer for take-home treats. What entices us to stay in our own city is the opportunity to experience a different suburb and a different perspective, the beach we wouldn't normally go to, the view we wouldn't normally have. Price is also a factor, and while there are some bargains, on the whole I consider that pricing, particularly at the high end hotels, is not enticement enough.
Heidi Blasig, Revesby, NSW
Your guide to outback NSW (Traveller, October 31) was most interesting. However, it seems to me that the comments under the heading "One more thing" that one needs a "fair dinkum" four wheel drive to negotiate unpaved roads is ridiculous. I have many years' experience driving unpaved roads in regional areas, mostly in traditional family sedans. So long as one stays on roads (as distinct from tracks) there is no problem.
Philip Roberts, Coledale, NSW
EDITOR'S NOTE The advice to which our reader refers was based on the fact that during his 12-day outback NSW trip, the author's SUV was, on separate occasions but during a single day, bogged and had a puncture on unsealed roads. This lead him to the view that a sturdier vehicle was necessary.
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