Region’s unlikely benefit from two border closures
FACED with borders blocked at both the northern and southern end of NSW, the Tweed's holiday parks have found an unusual positive amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to one of the industry's top operators, tourists who might normally have bypassed the Tweed or would have stayed a short time are now expanding their experiences and opinions of the region.
Tweed Holiday Parks co-ordinator Andrew Illingworth said while it was initially disheartening to see winter bookings cancelled but the vacancies were quickly snapped up by travellers and grey nomads who were waiting for the border to open.
Mr Illingworth said some of the visitors would normally migrate to parts of Queensland for the warmer weather during the winter but had found themselves unable to cross the border.
"For us it's been great to see all these new people coming to our parks on Tweed and because of the border they are staying longer than perhaps a stop overnight like they normally would," he said.
"I've even heard some say they are happy here (and) won't go further even when the border opens."
Mr Illingworth said there were quite a few Victorians who had left their home state more than a month ago who had decided to make Tweed their home while they waited to see what would happen with the NSW/Victorian border.
"It's been interesting, we are caught between the Gold Coast and Byron and sometimes that means people scoot past us but this has meant more people are exploring here," he said.
"We've had some great feedback about people not realising just how much the Tweed has to offer."
Mr Illingworth assured the community no one was using the parks as their period of self-isolation.
Guests are required to complete declaration forms before staying, confirming they were not being tested for coronavirus and had not been in close contact with known cases.
He said the seven parks under his management had used the lockdown period for maintenance, gardening and renovation and had managed to retain all staff bar those who chose not to come back to work.
"It was slow for the first two weeks and then it really started to pick up," he said.
"People who live less than half an hour away took it as an opportunity to get out of their homes for a weekend at the Kingscliff and Pottsville parks in particular."