BUSINESS was booming this past long weekend and week of school holidays thanks to an influx of visitors to the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest area.
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Gordon Grainger from the Myall River Action Group said that in his 20 years of living in Tea Gardens he’d never seen the area so busy in October.
“This long weekend and school holidays the community was inundated with visitors,” he said.
“Car parking spots along Marine Drive were all taken over lunch time in particular and we noticed a lot of boat traffic.”
“I also understand that the local camping areas and rental accommodations were all fully booked.”
Ben Hanson, owner of Tea Gardens Hotel, said it was a stressful yet successful long weekend.
“It was definitely busier than pre-COVID long weekends, it’s almost as busy as the Christmas period,” said Mr Hanson.
“With restrictions in place it was harder to operate; instead of packing people in, we were turning them away.”
“It’s important to follow all of the health and safety guidelines obviously so we’re doing the best we can considering.”
While Mr Hanson was thrilled at the uptick in business, he hopes restrictions will further ease before the Christmas rush.
“Getting closer to Christmas is nerve-wracking,” he said.
“We’re having to hire extra staff members for shifts during these busy periods – with reduced capacity – and without supplement from the government.”
“It’s nice that we’re open but it can be frustrating turning so many people away.”
Mr Hanson also noted that many visitors said they had never been to the area before and were already wanting to come back, showing strength in the area’s tourism potential moving into summer.
By Ashley CHRYSLER