Tourist numbers rise
By CHRISTIAN STANGER
TWEED Heads and Coolangatta tourism operators are bracing for a bumper Christmas-New Year holiday season with thousands more holidaymakers expected to visit the area.
Resort and hotel accommodation is likely to have 100 per cent occupancy during peak periods, according to Tweed Tourism Incorporated (TACTIC).
Visitor numbers increased from 390,000 in 2003 to 469,000 last year alone and TACTIC predicts that 600,000 or more visitors will be visiting the region by 2008.
Forward bookings for the school holiday period and up to Easter are already at "very healthy levels", with major resort accommodation outlets fully booked from Boxing Day into the New Year.
"Forward bookings certainly indicate that the growth trend being experienced on the Tweed will continue," TACTIC general manager Terry Watson said.
The tourist boom, also being experienced at the Tweed's caravan and holiday parks, really kickstarted on Boxing Day with visitors from Queensland and country NSW streaming through the region, leaving full caravan parks and small cities of tents in their wake.
Fingal Holiday Park manager Greg Cadzow said the park's sites are booked out every year from Boxing Day through to the end of the school holidays, with most visitors coming back year after year.
Mr Cadzow said 95 per cent of visitors at the park come from South East Queensland, while some only travel from as far as Murwillumbah.