VISITOR numbers in the Tamworth region are solid in the lead-up to this year’s country music festival.
The region’s four visitor information centres recorded higher numbers of visitors during the Christmas and New Year period.
The Tamworth Visitor Information Centre has already been averaging 300 visitors through its doors each day since Christmas.
Destination Tamworth visitor services supervisor Val Schaefer said, in addition to those coming through the doors, volunteers and staff were fielding “hundreds” of calls.
Several days out of the official launch of this year’s country music festival, those inquiries are expected to spike again over the coming days and weeks.
“Inquiries have been very strong for accommodation, activities, attractions and events in the lead-up to the festival. Many people have arrived early for the festival, to claim spots in their favourite holiday parks and camping grounds,” Ms Schaefer said.
“Nundle has been a very popular destination for visitors from the mid-North Coast, the Hunter region and nearby areas within a few hours’ drive, with fishing, fossicking, boating and water sports being the most sought-after activities, as holidaymakers enjoy the region’s warm weather and great outdoor offerings.”
Ms Schaefer said the Barraba Visitor Information Centre had seen steady visitation, with fishing, birdwatching and four-wheel-drive visits to Mount Kaputar National Park among the most-requested activities by visitors, many of whom have been from Queensland.
At Manilla, inquiries have been about fishing at Split Rock Dam, camping and other recreational water activities.
She said statistics about visitors to Tamworth during the Christmas/New Year period suggested most were from Victoria and Queensland and were couples and families wanting to stay one to two nights.
“There have been increasing numbers of international visitors, too,” Ms Schaefer said.
When it comes to the country music festival, accommodation operators are already reporting visitor arrivals.
“There are already strong bookings throughout the 10 days of the festival, but there are still some vacancies on offer,” she said.
“At this stage the second week is the most heavily booked.”
From late last week, the Tamworth Visitor Information Centre has been noticing a spike
in festival accommodation inquiries, as well as ticket sales for the 100 shows on offer across the various entertainment venues.
“With Christmas and New Year celebrations now over, everyone’s suddenly realised that the festival is just over a week away, so all manner of general inquiries about the Tamworth region and the festival have risen sharply,” she said.
Ms Schaefer said the continuing popularity of caravanning and camping holidays in the Tamworth region, particularly in the lead-up to and during the festival, reflected the latest trends in tourism being experienced across the state.