Tourism surge as Clarence hits million mark
THE number of visitors to the Clarence Valley has topped the one million mark for the first time.
The Clarence Valley Council's quarterly tourism monitor shows that in the 12 months to December 2016, about 1,081,000 visited the region.
The figures also show the number of international visitors is increasing, with a 29.6% increase recorded during the period.
The council's economic development coordinator, Elizabeth Fairweather, said international visitors were generally high yielding and spent an average 5.6 days in the Clarence.
She said domestic overnight visitors were up more than 9% and, critically, their length of stay had increased by nearly 30% to more than four days.
Adrian Easdown of the Calypso Holiday Park, Yamba, said the increasing the length of stay improved profit margins.
"A considerable portion of the cost of a stay in accommodation is met in the first night, so getting an extra night on the stay has considerable benefits to our business," he said.
"Obviously this benefit increases with the length of stay so it is great to see the average length of stay is trending upwards for the past 12 months.
"We hope that by providing a remarkable experience that visitors choose to return to us in the future for longer and/or recommend us to friends or family."
Ms Fairweather said that when the length of stay, visitor origin and expenditure patterns were taken into account the gross annual stimulus to the Clarence Valley associated with the total annual visitors was estimated at $312.7 million.
"Roughly 30% of all visitors stay with family and friends, which makes every resident of the Clarence Valley an ambassador," she said.
"We are all responsible for promoting the entirety of the Clarence and with so many attractions - this is an easy job."