‘Dream now, visit later’: Tweed tourism's plan for future
THE verdict is in for Tweed's tourism performance in 2019.
Although last year's numbers don't mean much to businesses currently hurting in the coronavirus crisis, our region's tourism boss says the statistics are a reason to be optimistic.
Visitor data just released by Tourism Research Australia for last year shows Tweed was riding a strong growth wave into 2020.
Tweed Tourism Company general manager Bradley Nardi said the data showed as an industry "we have been on the right track".
During 2019, the Tweed region saw a 33 per cent increase in domestic overnight visitors and a 9 per cent increase in international visitor numbers.
"Importantly, visitor nights grew significantly too, with domestic nights up 37.2 per cent and international nights increasing by 29.4 per cent," Mr Nardi said.
"This is the strongest result on record for the Tweed's domestic overnight visitation and a positive beacon to guide us into what will initially be a recovery based on intra- and interstate travel."
Mr Nardi said the figures encouraged hope for the tourism industry to bounce back from the pandemic.
"We know the important domestic market is loving the region," he said.
"While the data was gathered prior to the closure or disruption to so many local businesses, we hope the results also provide some encouragement to Tweed tourism operators, reflecting the region's strong and growing appeal as a holiday destination of choice.
"While we anticipate likely declines in future visitation data as a result of COVID-19, we are also looking ahead to the recovery phase and how we can best support industry through to this time and beyond."
Mr Nardi said the social media campaign #LovetheTweed was helping to encourage people to "dream now and visit later".
"With Mother's Day coming up soon, we'll be encouraging people to gift Mum the Tweed with future holiday vouchers from accommodation and retail to dining and experiences," he said.
"The wellbeing of our industry right now is also key to consider, and we are inviting local businesses to be part of an upcoming wellness initiative called the Eight Week Challenge. Led by local Tim Jack Adams of Green X7, the challenge aims to boost wellbeing during this difficult time; sleep, nutrition, physical health and more. The first 40 businesses to register will be fully subsidised by the Tweed Tourism Company.
"It's clear that recovery is going to take time and will present challenges, but we're encouraged in this task by the collective professionalism and passion of the Tweed's industry that has delivered such positive visitation results last year and will help drive our future tourism successes."