More than 500 visitors packed the Echuca Visitor Information Centre on Monday alone, Echuca-Moama Tourism chief executive Pete White says.TRENT HORNEMAN January 1, 2014 4:22am
Beds in the region are full up and Echuca-Moama’s retailers are cashing in.
Echuca-Moama Tourism chief executive Pete White said just a handful of accommodation was vacant in the region.
He said more than 500 visitors packed the Echuca Visitor Information Centre on Monday alone.
Mr White said the influx of tourists started before Christmas, with cars continuing to stream into the region this week.
He expected the flow of tourists to continue for another fortnight, before a second wave of summer holiday makers hit later in the month.
‘‘Of course we then have our two biggest events, the Southern 80 and the Riverboats Music Festival back-to-back in February,’’ he said.
Retailers in Echuca have been kept busy in the week following Christmas.
Steve McCulloch, who owns the General Store in High St and Fearless in Hare St, said it was the busiest period he had seen in several years.
‘‘We were really quiet in the lead up to Christmas until about a week before and then it was crazy,’’ he said.
‘‘I am not sure whether it is the weather or the range of multi-national brands we stock but business has been super in both stores.
‘‘We are probably seeing 60-40 or 70-30 in favour of the tourists at the moment.’’
Mr McCulloch said while tourists were willing to spend in Echuca, he was offering discounts to entice locals to shop in his store.
‘‘Obviously online is a big influence on locals. We have offered a 10 per cent discount to locals who shop with us,’’ he said.
‘‘Tourism is the cream for us, but it is the support of the locals that keeps us going all year round.’’
Denise McInnes of Bennetts Sports Echuca had also noticed the influx of visitors.
Like Mr McCulloch, she noticed a last-minute shopping spree in the lead up to Christmas.
‘‘I am not sure whether Christmas crept up on people or whether people were waiting for last-minute sales,’’ she said.
‘‘We had people coming in looking for big items like trampolines two days before Christmas, whereas in the past these would have been put on lay-by months ago.’’
Hospitality venues have also been packed.
Renee Oberin of the American Hotel and Oscar Ws said both businesses were buzzing.
Mrs Oberin, a member for the Portside Traders, said most businesses in the port were popular with tourists at the moment, including the paddlesteamers and the new Port of Echuca Discovery Centre.
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