Yamba's tourist trade concern
HOW does Australia’s number one town bounce back from a national media battering?
The town has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks and not-so-glowing reports of Yamba have been broadcast all over the country.
One resident who was on holidays in the Hunter Valley said that as soon as she mentioned she was from Yamba, there was a ‘hum’ of conversation about riots, racial tension and kids running amok.
“It is truth without responsibility and an unbalanced view of the town,” she said.
While some tourist operators say that the fallout from recent media coverage can’t yet be measured, as calls from concerned holiday makers come in, others say that people who know Yamba are not put off in the slightest.
What is agreed upon, however, is that Yamba has its share of problems that need a community that’s respectful of one another and is concerned enough to do something about them.
Club Yamba manager, Louise Payet, asks who is responsible for finding this leadership and says businesses are the ones to speak out but are accused of chasing the tourist dollar.
This week she’s had three phone calls from guests this week asking if it was still safe to walk home from Yamba restaurants at night to their accommodation, after they had read about Yamba’s darker side in a national newspaper.
She said the community’s spirit has been damaged, despite a lot of people trying hard in the community.
“One of the calls was from a group of women who wanted to know if there was off-street parking and security,” Ms Payet said.
“We have both, but not as a response to crime in the town, but as part of our standards as four-star luxury accommodation.
“I told the girls that they have to use their commonsense like anywhere else.”
Ms Payet also wonders how many people were thinking of holidaying in Yamba but have been put off.
Colleen Kennedy is the youth services co-ordinator at the Grafton New School of Arts and the co-ordinator of the Street Cruise program that has been absent from Yamba’s streets for nearly a year.