Backpacker venues in Sydney are struggling as young travelers choose destinations with a more exciting nightlife.
Joey Murphy, of Chilli Blue Backpackers in Potts Point, said lockout laws continued to have a negative effect on his business.
“It is a disaster. We just cannot compete with other international cities.”
Mr Murphy said Sydney was now experiencing a negative reputation within the backpacker community.
“Travelers go back and tell their relatives or friends that Sydney is not as good as it used to be, and then it slowly gets worse and worse. It has absolutely gone down,” he said.
Sydney’s quiet and awkward streets after dark are having an impact on our desirability as a destination
Lockout laws were introduced by the State Government in February 2014 in response to a number of one-punch deaths and other alcohol-fuelled violence. The legislation requires 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks at bars, pubs and clubs in the inner city and Kings Cross precincts.
There were reports this week that Deputy Premier John Barilaro would take a proposal to cabinet to wind back the lockout laws by the end of the year but this has not been confirmed.
Many backpackers and other young people are now choosing Melbourne over Sydney because of the lack of entertainment options available in the harbour city.
Tyson Koh, Campaign manager of Keep Sydney Open, said Melbourne had also been stealing a lot of creative young people away from Sydney.
“Tourists like cities that have complete offerings both day and night, and unfortunately Sydney’s quiet and awkward streets after dark are having an impact on our desirability as a destination,” Mr Koh said.
Lauran Sutton, Assistant Manager of Happy Travels, said it was sad that Sydney’s reputation was now damaged. She confirmed many of her backpacker friends had made the move from Sydney to Melbourne.
"I’m from England, my friends are definitely preferring Melbourne purely because the nightlife is better. It is cooler and much more fun. You can go somewhere on a Friday and rollout on a Monday. You cannot do that in Sydney,” Ms Sutton said.
Mr Murphy believes cheap prices in Asia are also making it a more desirable destination. "Many backpackers experience disappointment coming to Sydney, where alcohol laws are strict and regulated compare to Asian countries."
“A lot of the backpackers that are coming in from Europe go via Asia, where you can stay out as late as you want and get as drunk as you want,” Mr Murphy said.
Jaime van Marrewijk, from Holland, has spent five days in Sydney and feels frustrated about the lack of nightlife.
“Sydney is quiet compared to other cities, when you walk around at night you don’t see a lot of people. It is not like back home.”
“I would recommend Sydney to other people. There are a lot of nice places to see, but the nightlife could have been better,” Mr Marrewijk said.
The backpacker did not know about the lockout laws before he arrived in Sydney.