Major holiday campaign puts Ballina in the picture

COMPARED with last Christmas, the latest school holidays showed Ballina Shire remains a popular seaside destination.

Paul Ferguson, president of Tourism Ballina, said there was a 'substantial increase' in the number of families who came to Ballina last month.

The owner of a motel and a cafe, Mr Ferguson said he had seen first-hand the rise in tourism this year, and figures from other business houses backed up his observations.

A television advertising campaign aimed at families in the Toowoomba and Tamworth areas last July, and again last November, appeared to be paying dividends, he said.

“We are starting to see the names of these places appear on our guest registers,” said Mr Ferguson, who owns the Colonial Motel on Bangalow Road.

“Tourism Ballina felt a lot of people would not be going abroad this year and that they would be looking at the traditional beach holiday.

“At one stage I ran out of beds.

“There's the general view among business people that there are a lot more families around and that is good.

“After talking to others in the industry everyone is really positive. We believe it was advertising money well spent.”

Mr Ferguson said Tourism Ballina spent about $2000 a month in the target areas, with coverage also beamed to viewers around Tenterfield and east to Lismore.

He said many families traditionally travelled from Tenterfield to Evans Head, Ballina or Lennox Head.

“But we are capturing more of those traditional families,” he said.

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