Visitors in the Southern Riverina, and specifically Tocumwal, are said to be spending more than ever at local businesses.By Hannah Nichols
Tourist numbers may not have improved on last year, but tourism and business stakeholders believe they may be spending more.
Tocumwal Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Clive March said most businesses would have seen an increase in trade in the past few weeks as a result of the tourism influx.
However, he did say roadworks may be affecting some businesses.
‘‘I think things have been good in Deniliquin St, but I doubt the same in Deniliquin Rd due to the roundabout (upgrade works),’’ he said.
‘‘Deniliquin Rd business owners may have had a pretty ordinary Christmas.’’
‘‘I don’t know that numbers have been any higher than last year, but it seems they have been spending more.
‘‘The Christmas and New Year weeks were big weeks.
‘‘We have had two good weeks in a row, and this week is also looking good.’’
In the peak times, Tocumwal Visitor Information Centre manager Sandi Hamilton said the centre welcomes about 300 people through their doors.
She said the number takes a significant boost on market days.
Huge numbers of cars towing caravans, trailers and boats have been seeing making their way up the Goulburn Valley Highway and down the Newell Hwy, with many beginning their ‘tree change’ extended summer break.
Ms Hamilton said it has resulted in a tourism season she describes as ‘‘a good one’’.
“Usually the climax is between Christmas and New Year, and it has been quite busy,’’ she said.
“And there is still a lot of people about.
“A significant percentage of people are repeat tourists and a significant percentage are also here to visit and see family.”
Ms Hamilton said that the benefits that the town sees from such a population boost is quite significant.
“There are economic benefits, as well as everyday benefits.”
Ms Hamilton also said the Southern Riverina has become a popular stop for tourists making their way to their holiday destinations, saying it is well known as a ‘‘staging stop’’.
Tourists who have made their way into the Tocumwal information centre come from all over Australia, with some also coming from overseas.
Visitors from Holland, Finland and Norway have been recorded at the centre.
Mr March attributed the high river levels to the influx of visitors, but said if extreme weather conditions continue it could drive some visitors away.
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