Tweed proving popular

TWEED is becoming one of the top places to visit and the latest tourism figures are there to prove it.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the number of tourists visiting the Tweed is heading towards half-a-million each year, with the tally jumping by more than 80,000 last year. In 2003 more than 379,000 visitors stayed in the Tweed, jumping to 462,000 in 2004.

The number of bed nights increased from 1.445 million in 2003 to 1.696 mil- lion in 2004.

Tweed and Coolangatta Tourism general manager Terry Watson has described the numbers as heartening.

He believes the increase is due to greater awareness of the Tweed due to extra media coverage initiated by his organisation plus the introduction of cheap flights into Gold Coast Airport.

"This has resulted in a rise in the two-to-four-night short getaways, with visitors utilising the extensive range of accommodation in the Tweed Valley, Tweed Coast and the Tweed Heads/Coolangatta area," he added.

Individual properties report similar increases.

Clive Parker from Hillcrest Mountain View Retreat, Murwillumbah reports an increase of 28 per cent in occupancy over the year.

Cabarita Hideaway Motel's Chris Gregory said in spite of extensive refurbishment of their beachfront property during 2004, they still had a 10 per cent increase over 2003.

Roger Ealand of Wollumbin Palms Retreat at Mt Warning reports occupancy increased about 13.5 per cent, with many new visitors from Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.

Gary Matthews from Ripples on Tweed B and B reports a 15 per cent increase over this same period.

Mr Watson is confident figures for the first half of 2005 will confirm the trend.

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