BUSINESS BOOMING!

By KAT MULLARD

IT'S been a bumper Easter on the Coffs Coast.

The weekend cold snap did nothing to deter visitors from seeking a few well-earned days off in our piece of paraside.

The southerly winds blew tens of thousands of holidaymakers through the doors of Park Beach Plaza over Easter, and if current trends keep up, it seems like the crowds are set to stay for the remainder of the holiday period.

According to Plaza marketing and retail manager, Darren Leaney, the long-weekend door count was well in excess of 50,000, which was up considerably from last year.

"It has been very, very busy. Saturday was our biggest day, with close to 30,000 people walking though our doors. Monday was a bigger day than Sunday ? it seems like people are hanging around for the school holidays," he said.

The Plaza was not the only hot spot in town over the long weekend, with Palms shopping centre forecasting a busy period ahead.

"It's looking like bumper sales for the April holiday trading period. We've had great traffic leading up to the long weekend," Palms shopping marketing manager Allyson Ginn said.

Thrill seekers sought fun and adventure at the Big Banana over the weekend, with the toboggan ride, ice rink, and World of Bananas plantation tour drawing in the crowds.

"We've had quite a good Easter, there are lots of tourists around. Saturday really boomed ? it was better than the past two years. Our retails outlets have had heavy traffic, too," Big Banana operations manager Sheldon Burmester said.

An ever popular Coffs Coast attraction, the Pet Porpoise Pool reported a 62 per cent increase in visitors over the Easter period, as people from all over the globe converged to commune with nature.

"We've partnered up with Steve's Reptile World over the school holidays, and it has proved really popular ? we've just had a fabulous weekend. We've even had international tourists fly over just to see our shows," Pet Porpoise Pool CEO Paige Sinclair said.

As tourists flocked to popular Coffs Coast destinations, holiday accommodation burst at the seams, with both Park Beach Holiday Park and Sawtell Beach Caravan Park cabins fully booked, and the Coffs Harbour YHA Backpackers reporting a surge in business.

"It's been crazy. We've been full for the past five days and we've been turning people away in droves.

"It's not only the international backpackers coming in, we've also got plenty of Aussie families and uni students, too," Coffs Harbour YHA Backpackers manager Graeme Diffey said.



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