Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent
As the Clarence Valley welcomed visitors from many parts of the country during the Christmas and New Year period, local businesses embraced the opportunity to boost sales during one of the busiest times on the calendar.
Hospitality venues exuberantly greeted travellers, retail outlets rejoiced at the increase in trade, and accommodation throughout the Clarence Valley was in hot demand.
Principal of Ray White Yamba Daniel Kelly said every holiday property managed by the family run business has been fully booked between Christmas and New Year, with no vacancies available until the end of January.
“We’ve been flat out,” he said.
“People are feeling more confident to travel, and they have more freedom to go to places they previously haven’t been able to travel to.
“This summer has been extremely busy which is great to see.”
While regular travellers returned once again to their favourite destinations including Yamba, Maclean, Iluka, Brooms Head, Grafton and Wooli, Mr Kelly also confirmed the difficulties surrounding Covid-19 testing requirements for interstate visitors to enter Queensland has seen more people opting to holiday in Northern NSW.
“People are looking for as much certainty as they can get regarding their holidays and accommodation, and that’s made the area quite attractive to them, especially since we’re also close to the border,” he said.
“There are definitely a few extra holiday makers in town.” Rhonda Hurst, shop manager of the Fisherman’s Coop in Maclean, said the last few weeks have been an incredibly busy time.
“We’ve had a fair few visitors and everyone has been very impressed with our cooking and service,” she said happily.
“We’ve seen a lot of travellers as well as our regular customers.
“It’s been a good time of the year.”
Darren Bache, Manager of the Glenwood Tourist Park and Motel in South Grafton has also welcomed a high number of visitors during the holidays, with several guests extending their stay prior to travelling to Queensland.
Sydneysider Lucie Lawniczak has been holidaying in the Clarence Valley since mid-December and told the Clarence Valley Independent she is enjoying her time in the region.
“I’ve visited many places while I’ve been here, and the locals and the business owners are some of the most inviting and gracious people I’ve ever met,” she said.
“They genuinely care about visitors and it’s such a good feeling to be here and to support them in return.
“It’s a nice way to give something back to the area.”
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 12 January 2022.