Visitors discover Tweed

TWEED Endeavour Cruises manager Scott Peterson said he has curious Gold Coasters to thank for more than half of his business.

Mr Peterson's claims are backed up by new figures released this week from the National and International Visitor Surveys showing the number of day visitors on the Tweed for the year ending June 2008 is up by 100,000.

This is a 24.5 per cent rise helping to bring the total to 900,000.

Mr Peterson said there are a lot of better activities and attractions on the Tweed helping to bring the day visitors down here.

"I think people are really interested in our rainforest cruises because you cannot do that up on the Gold Coast," Mr Peterson said.

"We've got a fair few other attractions down here like Twin Towns Services Club and some well-known golf courses and our restaurants. Just a few things that everyone seems to know about." Mr Peterson said he gets people from as far as Brisbane driving down to spend a day on the river.

"I've also noticed that a lot of people choose to stay on the Tweed because it's quieter than the Gold Coast.

"With international visitors spending around $1017 per person during their stay and domestic overnight visitors spending $389 per person per visit, our tourism industry (including day trippers) brought almost $240 million into the region."

Domestic and international overnight visitations remain relatively unchanged according to the survey.

Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said day visitors injected an estimated $70 million into the local economy during 2007-08.

"With 2008 starting on such a dismal note due to the floods, we are particularly thrilled to see such a significant rise in the number of day visitors," Mr Villiers said.

A survey of Northern Rivers tourism operators in January revealed estimated losses of more than $18 million with Murwillumbah and surrounding areas among the hardest hit.

Mr Villiers was also wary the local tourism industry will face the crunch of the current global financial crisis.

"People are going to be hurting and luxuries like holidays are likely to be among the first casualties," he said.

"We're hoping that the Tweed will benefit as people choose to take short break getaways closer to home and Tweed Tourism will be focusing its efforts on the Gold Coast and Brisbane drive markets in order to strengthen this sector."

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