GREAT weather, terrific surf conditions, the Byron Naturally tourism campaign and supermodel Elle MacPherson have all contributed to one of Byron Bay’s biggest and best Christmas-New Year holiday trading periods.
As many retail stores and food and beverage outlets report their best holiday trading, Byron United president Paul Waters hopes the huge influx of tourists will continue through January.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to is very, very happy and we’ve been very fortunate with the weather,” Mr Waters said.
“If the good weather continues, then I’m sure the tourists will stick around.”
He attributed the retail boom to the success of the Byron United-initiated Byron Naturally tourism campaign.
“Byron United can certainly take some credit for this campaign, which has targeted people in south-east Queensland,” he said.
Former president of Byron United and the owner of two retail shops in Byron Bay, Sevegne Newton, said she’d had the best-ever holiday retail sales since coming to Byron nine years ago. She also attributed the record sales to the Byron Naturally campaign, which had had “a massive effect”.
“Having Elle MacPherson and her family in town over Christmas and New Year has also been a huge boon.
“Elle could have holidayed anywhere in the world, but she chose to bring her sister, her father and her two sons to Byron Bay. You just can’t buy that sort of publicity.”
Owner of The Top Shop, Andy Gordon, said he had also experienced record business during the peak holiday period.
“It’s certainly up this year,” Mr Gordon said.
“There’s a great vibe in town; everyone is smiling and happy.
“All our customers have been such lovely people – they’ve been patient while they’ve waited for food and they’ve loved the great weather and good surf.
“This is what Byron is all about.”
Byron Bay Property Sales principal Graham Dunn said the town was experiencing a bumper holiday season, with top accommodation in huge demand. He had received enormous amounts of inquiry for weeks, with some people offering to pay more than double the asking price to secure accommodation.
“This is the highest level of demand we have experienced during the peak period for several years and forward bookings for 2012 are already very strong, with all accommodation options for Easter booking out very quickly,” Mr Dunn said.
“Ultra-luxury properties have been in particularly high demand.”
Ray White holiday property officer Amy Montgomery also said the New Year weekend had been booked out.