Busy summer for Northern Rivers holiday outlets

THE disappointment of last year's holiday numbers has been forgotten after a straw poll by Northern Rivers Tourism chief executive Russell Mills revealed a solid 2008/2009 summer for bookings.

Visitor numbers are also looking good for Easter, with families already making bookings in their favourite caravan parks at Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Ballina and Evans Head.

Last year, higher than average rainfall, floods and thousands of dead fish littering the shores of the Richmond River was enough to send tourists packing.

However, Mr Mills said overall feedback from Far North Coast operators this year was excellent, 'particularly along the coast and where events are on the calendar'.

“Of course, business should be good at this time of year, but it is encouraging to know that some resorts are reporting record bookings,” he said

Mr Mills said the five-star Byron at Byron Resort and Spa had been booked out last month, and was nearly booked out for January.

In Lismore, the Australian Jazz Convention and the annual gay and lesbian Tropical Fruits New Year's Eve party attracted nearly 3000 people to the region.

The Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park at Lennox Head also reported a very busy summer, and is already taking bookings for Easter from visitors unable to get accommodation at Byron Bay during the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival. The Shaws Bay Caravan Park at Ballina is in a similar position.

At Evans Head, the Silver Sands Caravan Park is full and is almost booked out for Easter.

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