Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park manager Gerald Searle says holiday bookings remain high, despite the economic crisis.
Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park manager Gerald Searle says holiday bookings remain high, despite the economic crisis. Cathy Adams

Busy holiday period ahead for Northern Rivers

WET weather and global economic uncertainty sound like a scary combination for tourism, but Ballina Lakeside Holiday Park Manager Gerald Searle isn’t worried.

Mr Searle, like most other caravan park operators in the region, has been run off his feet with bookings for the Christmas holiday period and is predicting a season as busy as ever.

While many bookings were made in advance before the crux of the credit crunch, Mr Searle said families were still treating themselves to a well-earned holiday at the end of the year.

“The phone has been ringing pretty consistently, and we are at the stage where we are just filling in the gaps between the longer bookings,” Mr Searle said. “With talk of all the economic doom and gloom, it certainly hasn’t transpired here.”

The Manager at Ballina’s Shaws Bay Caravan Park, Debra Parsons, said the park was already fully booked out for the Christmas period, and the team at Clarkes Beach Holiday Park at Byron Bay were also full-up and expecting a ‘very busy season’.

Northern Rivers Tourism Chief Executive Russell Mills said most overseas visitors had booked their holidays before the economic meltdown, so he was not expecting a drop-off in numbers of international tourists to the Northern Rivers.

He added that the low Australian dollar was also encouraging more Australians to holiday in the country.

However, holiday park operators have their fingers crossed that the region will not be inundated with as much rain as it was last summer, which led to the loss of millions of tourist dollars on the Northern Rivers.

Mr Searle said a new indoors ‘kids’ nook’ had been built at his park, to make it easier for parents to entertain their children when it was raining.


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