Beef Week hope for business
CASINO retailers and business houses are looking for a Beef Week-led recovery after one of the toughest six months in recent memory.
The iconic Casino festival – which officially kicks off on Saturday – is expected to boost the town’s economy by $1 million, with civic leaders hopeful the benefits will be felt across the board thanks to the multiplier effect.
“It’s been a very difficult six months for all the retailers in town,” Casino Chamber of Commerce president Michael Greentree said.
“Not just because of the main street upgrade but because of the way the wider economy is going and the impact of successive interest rate rises.
“The Northern Rivers as a whole, not just Casino, has only recently started feeling the major effects of the global financial crisis and that, combined with rising interest rates, has meant people are saving more and not spending as much.
“This is why retailers are looking forward to Beef Week and the influx of people from outside of the Richmond Valley it always brings to the town.
“With Primex a few weeks later, then the official opening of the street beautification works in conjunction with a big end-of-financial-year sale the chamber will be promoting, we’re hoping Beef Week will herald the start of a much brighter 2010-2011 financial year.”
According to figures compiled by Richmond Valley Council’s tourism department, Beef Week generated about $990,000 in visitor expenditure last year, while exhibitors and visitors at last year’s Primex spent $8.9 million across the Richmond Valley.
While not all retailers and businesses benefit directly from the cash injection, the multiplier effect ensures it flows on to most of them. Accommodation in Casino is already at a premium for the main weekend of Beef Week.
Beef Week president Stuart George is confident this year’s festival will match, if not beat, visitor numbers in previous years and expects that their total spend to top $1 million.
“The inquiries we’ve been receiving at the Beef Week office have been astronomical,” he said.
“We’ve been getting people from far and wide calling up wanting programs so they can come to Beef Week.
“From all reports we’ve had from local motels there are few rooms left in Casino for Beef Week.
“It not only attracts a lot of outside visitors, it brings the towntogether and showcases Casino’s unique and very strong community spirit.”