Walcha tourism on the rise

More international tourists are visiting the New England staying longer and spending more, according to the latest tourism data and Walcha is not missing out our local tourism officer says.

“We have only recently started officially recording the origin of our visitors so I can’t give you numbers however I am positive an increase in overseas visitation to Walcha is the case,” said Walcha Council Tourism Manager Mrs Susie Crawford.

“I would say that international visitors are a lot more common now than they were, say three to five years ago.”  

Mrs Crawford said that international tourists were served fairly regularly in the Walcha Visitor Information Centre, and they were constantly amazed by Walcha.  

“The national parks, forests, waterfalls and gorges astound them,” she said.

“Visitors are completely flabbergasted at Walcha’s Open Air Gallery and the fact that such amazing art and sculptures exist in such a small town.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce welcomed the recent International Visitor Survey figures which show thousands of international visitors have travelled to the New England and spent more than $457 million in the year to March 2017.

“These figures show the New England tourism industry continues to go from strength to strength,” Mr Joyce said.

“This is fantastic news for New England and the 3,500 local tourism jobs and 1,600 tourism businesses.

“A growing tourism industry will continue to drive our local economy and create more jobs in New England.”

Produced by Tourism Research Australia, the survey shows 542,000 international tourists visited the New England, North West, Hunter and North Coast tourism zones which cover the New England Electorate, an increase of 14, 25 and 24 percent respectively from the previous three years.

International visitors spent $457 million while in the New England North West, Hunter and North Coast tourism zones, an increase of 52, 27 and 29 percent from the previous three years.

Nationally, tourists from across the globe spent a record $39.8 billion and 262 million nights in Australia, a five per cent increase from the previous year.

“International visitors and spending in regional Australia are both up 29 per cent over the last three years. Asian markets recorded the fastest growth in spend for the year, while the United States visitation and spend shows a strong resurgence,” Mr Joyce said.

Mrs Crawford said our international guests regularly complimented her on the general feel of the town being warm, welcoming and friendly.  

“I enjoy the positive reactions of these visitors and it is an absolute delight to be of service to them,” she said.