Ballina aiming to target Kiwi tourist market

By DAWN COHEN

KIWIS will be targeted as potential tourists to Ballina, if Michael Fellner gets his way.

The manager of Ballina Manor has launched the Tourism Ballina Group with Rick Mowle, from the Headland Beach Resort at Lennox Head.

The Ballina Chamber of Commerce initiative plans to help private businesses band together in partnership with public facilities to bring more tourist dollars into the area.

"New Zealanders fly direct to the Gold Coast. Their next stop should be Ballina," Mr Fellner said.

"Our information centre recorded about 53,000 visitors last year, compared with 1.7 million in Byron Bay," the former chef said.

"It is a huge difference and we need to tap into that.

"Virgin Blue's flights into Ballina, and our proximity to the international airport on the Gold Coast, give us great opportunities. "We have lots of small businesses here, but most need some assistance in developing a marketing strategy. If we pool our advertising dollar we can bring more tourism to this area."

Most tourists to the area come from south-east Queensland, according to Mr Fellner.

"Our first step would be to market ourselves domestically, but we can also tap into the international market," he said.

Benefits to the community of increased tourism include more local events, as well as increased cash flow.

A tourism forum is scheduled for next Thursday at the Ballina Beach Resort, where a plan will be developed with the guidance of Melbourne's tourism guru, Norm White.

Tourism Ballina Group committee members include Michael Hulbert from Ballina Beach Resort, Dale Potts from Nirvana Coffee, Colin Cooksey from Colin Cooksey Photography, Paul Ferguson from Ballina Colonial Motel, Melissa Pearson from Ramada Riverside Apartments and Peter Cooks from Thrifty Car Rental.

Call 1800 025 398 to book for the forum.



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