Yamba beaches aerial.
Yamba beaches aerial. Adam Hourigan

GAMES BOOST: Tourism benefits from Gold Coast exodus

IF YOU have stepped foot in Yamba during the Commonwealth Games period you have probably realised the influx of holiday goers has stepped up a notch in Yamba.

The Commonwealth Games coinciding with the Queensland Easter school holidays has reportedly pushed the Gold Coast locals out to holiday hotspots such as Yamba and Angourie to escape the chaos.

President of the Yamba Chamber of Commerce and owner of Yamba Cinema Debbie McCredie said an increase in the number of tourists visiting Yamba during Queensland school holidays was a regular occurrence.

However, she noted that the Easter weekend was particularly busier than usual.

"Tourists are here, and the majority of people are Queenslanders," Ms McCredie said.

"I have heard comments by them that they deliberately took holidays to coincide with not being there during the Games because of the hassles of travelling to work during that time."

Coolangatta local Byron Keillah visited Yamba over the weekend to avoid the crowds from the Commonwealth Games.

He expected the Gold Coast would be wall-to-wall with tourists and Coolangatta would be at a standstill with road closures, so he decided to go to Yamba instead.

Mr Keillah said it seemed surprisingly quiet at the Gold Coast at the moment.

"There is like no people anywhere besides surfers. It's weird," he said.

Destination North Coast NSW general manager Phil Harmen told The Northern Star that the games promotes the Gold Coast but he believed Northern NSW was a complementary product.

He said the Commonwealth Games was also an opportunity to spread the word about much of the North Coast.

"Talking to quite a few tourism operators, Easter and Bluesfest was actually a very strong period," Mr Harmen said.



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