Getting out and about in regional Victoria tops the priority list for almost one in three people after lockdown, according to new NAB data.
As Victoria takes the next steps in its COVID recovery with the metro-regional border ending on Friday night, and many taking a long weekend with the Melbourne Cup public holiday, 35% of men want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for the regions compared to 29% of women.
NAB Group Executive Personal Banking Rachel Slade said the survey showed Victorians were excited to explore our state again as the 80% double vaccinated milestone was reached.
“We’re predicting a mass exodus and lots of excitement, with the reunification of Melbourne and the regions the perfect start to the unofficial long weekend,” Ms Slade said.
“Spending at petrol stations in Melbourne last weekend was up 31% to $10.4million compared to the previous one, while automotive spending increased by 22% to $4.8 million. This shows how active people are getting again now restrictions are easing and points to people planning trips and getaways.
“This is welcome news for small businesses in regional centres like Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Wodonga, hit hard by COVID restrictions.”
The survey also found 34% of Victorians said visiting a shop with a view to purchasing topped their to do list after lockdown.
“Almost 40% of women said visiting a bricks and mortar shop was their top priority after lockdown, compared to 27% of men,” Ms Slade said.
“I’m sure many Melburnians will be waiting outside their favourite shops on Saturday morning, ready to try on clothes, sit on furniture and see products. This is only possible because millions of Australians have been vaccinated.
“Every jab keeps us safer and gets us closer to unlocking more freedoms, like major events and removing density or capacity limits.”
Pauline and Matthew Ladson, who own the Neerim South Hotel and Town Central Motel in Bairnsdale, are among thousands of regional business owners ready to welcome Melburnians this weekend.
“There’s lots of people ringing up and commenting on Facebook talking about coming out and saying, ‘I can’t wait to support you’,” Pauline said.
“It’s exciting knowing that we’ve got support, that people want to come.
“People are desperate to get out and travel. COVID has meant people are starting to travel in their own backyard.
“We are open for business and ready to welcome everyone back.”
Bells Beach Brewing co-owner Adam Smith said the business, which can cater for 160 patrons across its Torquay and Geelong locations, was bracing for a busy weekend.
“Our business is much more than a customer relationship. You meet people as customers and they become really good friends,” Mr Smith said.
“We have about 30 or so people like that who live in Melbourne and are coming down, so it will almost be like a teary reunion on Saturday when they come in. I can picture it already.
“Torquay had its busiest summer ever had last year and it’s probably going to be the same again. There’s a huge amount of pent up demand.”
The NAB Survey asked about 550 Victorians to select their top five priorities outside visiting family and friends post lockdown.
Anyone who still needs support from the impacts of COVID-19 can find more information on support available here, including the NAB Business Recovery Loan, designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SME) feeling the economic impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- View the full NAB survey here
- The NAB survey of about 550 Victorians was conducted between 12-14 October 2021