COFFS Harbour has out-done Port Macquarie in the online tourism booking-game - stealing our coveted third place position on Wotif.com's annual tourism hot spots of NSW list.
The popular accommodation website said online-bookings revealed our town has after two years at number three, swapped places with traditional tourism rivals Coffs Harbour for 2012.
Port Macquarie has fallen into fourth place, and in 2008 and 2009 was positioned at number five.
"It's been neck and neck for Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour over the years and they have a history of trading places on the list," said Wotif.com brands general manager Megan Magill.
Ms Magill said both cities were attractive to drive markets - with Coffs Harbour a drive-able distance from Brisbane and Port Macquarie a short drive from Sydney.
"Both Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour saw an increase in visitors last year, however Coffs Harbour had a stronger growth rate," she said.
Port Macquarie came in at number 17 on the top 20 Australian destination's list, two places below Coffs Harbour.
And Sydney has held the number one spot on the list for the tenth year running.
Port Macquarie is among five other NSW destinations to make the top 20 list, including Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, and Byron Bay.
The Wotif.com 2012 Australian top destinations list is based on more than 260,000 bookings per month made by Wotif.com customers in the past year.
“The Wotif data is based on all bookings made per month and the rankings show that for 2012 Port Macquarie has moved into fourth place behind Coffs Harbour for popular NSW destinations on the Wotif system. It is a fantastic result to be ranked so highly in NSW and in fact to make the Top 20 destinations across Australia list.
“While Wotif is certainly a very popular search and booking website it is only one of a number of such sites and it has been under considerable pressure from competitors in this market, so I caution against using this data as a singular reference for our tourism results,” said Mr Swift McNair
In relation to the overall tourism position Mr Swift McNair commented that Port Macquarie continues to experience a strong tourism sector that generates a significant impact on the local economy.
“While we maintain a friendly rivalry with Coffs Harbour both destinations are holding significant market share. Tourism Research Australia release comprehensive visitor survey data which indicates that for the year ended March 2012, over 1.5 million people visited our area and spent $430 million in our local economy. All indicators are that the data for this current summer, which will be released in March 2013 will show that we have again retained significant visitation,” said Mr Swift McNair.