Rain fills the coffers at Pimlicos Adventure Park
By Jamie Brown
A MONTH of wet weather, and a shocking fish kill and subsequent ban on recreational river fishing, have dampened holiday business in the Northern Rivers by an estimated 14 per cent.
But not everyone is singing the blues.
Tourist-oriented businesses that can handle a deluge have experienced an income bonus during these damp Christmas holidays.
Ian Arthur’s Ballina Adventure Park at Pimlico has experienced a bumper summer, with customers enjoying playing Skirmish in his two-hectares of paperbark jungle, despite it being knee-deep in mud and water.
“No one ever called off the war in Vietnam because of a bit of rain,” said the pioneer of paint ball sport in Australia.
Mr Arthur said business was up by at least one-third in January, with most customers saying they would be back for more.
Ballina Tenpin Bowl owner-manager Julian Tuck said the wet, rainy weather had ‘well and truly doubled’ his business.
“We love the wet weather,” he said.
Of course, tourist-oriented businesses that rely on the sunshine and turquoise waters normally on tap here have felt the pinch.
Northern Rivers Tourism CEO Russell Mills says the economic loss is estimated at up to $44 million, and a submission will be made to all levels of government calling for substantial disaster relief funding.
“The trend across the region has been that visitor numbers and visitor expenditure was down a mean average of 14 per cent,” he said.
The submission to State and Federal governments will include a proposal to develop a marketing communications campaign to help restore consumer confidence that the Northern Rivers is a great place to holiday.
“We must send the clear message that the Northern Rivers is open for business so we can attract travellers back to our beaches, hinterland, towns and rivers,” Mr Mills said.