GREAT weather and free flowing traffic at South Nowra helped boost our visitor numbers for the Christmas/New Year period.
With accommodation bookings strong, it’s expected many visitors will stay on until Australia Day and beyond.
Shoalhaven Visitors Centre manager Joe Puglisi said he expected the population to swell anywhere from 320,000 to 350,000 on either side of New Year’s Eve, making it difficult to find accommodation.
“The numbers have been good this year and we are still receiving a lot of inquiries for accommodation in the area,” Mr Puglisi said.
“This year we have seen a popular trend for caravan parks and camping facilities, more so than last year.
“People generally want to stay near the beaches – in and around Jervis Bay or they opt for the rural environment and stay in places like Kangaroo Valley and Berry.
“Overall we have been strong in incoming inquiries and bookings into the new year,” he said.
Mr Puglisi said he has also noticed a stronger than usual influx of international tourists to the area.
“We don’t normally see a lot of international tourists this time of the year, but this year we have had a lot which is really pleasing,” he said.
Huskisson Chamber of Commerce president Wendy Smith said she has also noticed a significant influx of international tourists.
“This time of the year you would be pretty lucky to get accommodation for more than a few days here and there,” she said.
“Everyone is looking forward to a very busy summer.”
Jervis Bay Tourism and Promotions president Melissa McManus said the local retailers had enjoyed a boom in pre-Christmas sales.
Callala Bay and Culburra Beach Raine&Horne director Craig Hadfield said the 60 holiday homes they direct are fully booked and have been for the two to three weeks over Christmas and leading in to January.
“We are probably up [in rentals] 30 per cent from last year,” Mr Hadfield said.
“We have had lots of inquiries for later in the school holidays too and it is still predominantly Sydney based.
“We have achieved more rentals on the high-end properties which we haven’t seen in top end property demand for the last five to six years.
“This year there has been a greater demand for those with rent from $750 to $1000 a night,” he said.