Tweed a tourist mecca

By DARREN COYNE

TWEED'S $150 million tourism industry is growing at "a fantastic rate", with new figures showing visitors increasing the number of nights they stay by 27 per cent.

The new statistics evaluating domestic overnight trips show that in the 12 months to September 2006, visitors spent a total of 2,019,000 nights in the Tweed area.

That is an increase of more than 400,000 on the same period in the previous year.

Tweed Tourism general man-ager Terry Watson described the result as fantastic, saying those involved in the industry had expected good results but were still very much surprised by the increases.

"The key thing is that increases in nights result in a higher yield, which leads to greater spending here on the Tweed," Mr Watson said.

He said 422,000 visitors came to the Tweed in the year ending September 2006, whereas in 2005 that figure was only 380,000.

Tweed Tourism chair Gary Matthews also welcomed the figures, saying new products such as Peppers and Outrigger at Salt Village, and Casuarina Beach Resort had generated a "rediscovery" of the Tweed.

Mr Matthews said visitors from the Brisbane market were choosing the Tweed when they would have traditionally headed to the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast for their holidays.

"This is exactly the result we are striving for," said Mr Matthews.

"Our core philosophy is to encourage high-yield, sustainable tourism where people are spend- ing more time in the region."

Meanwhile, Mr Watson said the Tweed would be further promoted at the Australian Tourism Exchange which is being held in Brisbane this year.

That gathering brings together wholesale tourism buyers from across the world.

"All major players such as Harbour Tower are also getting active in the international market," he said.

"We're putting together workshops so that our operators understand how international marketing works and how to present their products to the world.



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