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CVC: ‘Record tourism numbers in the Clarence’

Geoff Helisma |

“The Clarence Valley has recorded its highest tourist numbers in history, with an estimated 1.3 million visitors coming to the region during 2018,” a Clarence Valley Council media release states.

“Tourism Research Australia (TRA) figures show a 22 per cent increase in international, domestic and day visitors from 2017 to 2018, continuing an impressive increase over the past three years.”

Key results highlighted in the release are: “Domestically, we welcomed 680,000 overnight visitors who stayed 2,355,037 nights;

“Internationally, the Clarence Valley received 27,000 visitors who stayed 157,830 nights; and, Day visitors to the Clarence Valley totalled 600,000.”

According to CVC’s figures, each of 680,000 domestic visitors stayed in the valley for an average of 3.46 nights, with, on average, 6,452 people staying overnight in the valley on each of the year’s 365 days.

On the international front, 27,000 visitors stayed an average of 5.82 nights; on average 431 people stayed overnight every day of the year.

The council’s destination management officer, Lou Gumb, attributed the improved figures to “the word getting out that the Clarence Valley region boasted some of the finest scenery, adventure and nature-based experiences that Australia had to offer”.

Ms Gumb said there had been a multifaceted approach that included working with the local tourism industry, government bodies including Destination NSW and Tourism Australia, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Crown Lands and the Forestry Corporation.

“We are working to attract visitors and to create an atmosphere that encourages people to stay longer, spend more and return year after year because they have had such a wonderful time in our very special part of the world.

“You only have to look at our @myclarencevalley on social media to see how many people have already fallen in love with the area and can’t wait to come back.

Mayor Jim Simmons said the “impressive numbers were charging the region’s economy, generating jobs and driving investment in local communities”.

“The results speak to the broad appeal of the Clarence Valley region,” he said.

“We really do have something for everyone, with our renowned Clarence canoe and kayak trail, Grafton Jacaranda season, Yuraygir coastal walk, tourist towns including Yamba, Iluka, Brooms Head, Wooli and Ulmarra.

“Visitors are coming for our beaches and rivers, bush adventures, laid-back lifestyle, world-class food, events and just to kick back and relax if that’s all they want to do.”

The council’s economic development manager, Elizabeth Fairweather, said in the media release that TRA’s figures showed a big turnaround after a steady decline in tourism numbers over the past 10 years.

“We hit the lowest point in 2014 when 857,000 visitors were recorded as coming to the area,” she said.

“But here we are at the end of 2018 with a whopping 52 per cent increase on this in a relatively short space of time.

“The graph line is now on a fast incline but this hasn’t happened by accident.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard to create awareness of the Clarence Valley, support the local industry, encourage nature-based sporting events and overall enhance the region’s nature-based experiences, targeting active families.”

A spokesperson was not available at the time of writing to take an enquiry regarding how much money CVC spends on marketing and other tourism related sponsorships.

TRA states on its website that local government area profiles are “only prepared” when there “are adequate International Visitor Survey and National Visitor Survey samples to produce robust results”.

“Further, data are averaged over four years, which minimises the impact of variability in estimates from year to year, and provides for more robust volume estimates,” the website states.

On international travel it states, regarding “sample sizes [that] TRA uses a sample size requirement of 40 to provide accurate estimates”.