It started with a trickle but now its official; Eden is experiencing a great summer season.
Local businesses say trading figures have been some of the best yet and numbers are on the rise for another influx of tourists this Australia Day.
Garden of Eden Caravan Park manager Tammy O’Malley said it has been a huge year for them in pre-Christmas numbers and it’s not expected to slow down until school’s back.
“From December 23 to the end of January we’ve received about 1200 adults and 500 kids and that’s just with check-ins and not including people off the road,” Ms O’Malley said.
“I feel it’s been a better season this year, it’s certainly lasting longer…It’s great for Eden. You only have to go up the street to see how much money is coming in to town and surrounding areas.
“I’ve noticed we haven’t had as many off the road this year and more bookings. I think people are becoming aware of how busy the coast is. Our first week here was chocker-block; we were turning away at least 130 families a day.
“Guests have predominantly been from the Victorian market, but I’ve also noticed more of the ACT market too, who would normally head to Bateman’s Bay perhaps because they’re realising how congested and overpopulated it is this time of year and they are heading to us, being only three hours away,” she said.
While most retailers and accommodation providers are all smiles, Eden Visitor Information Centre acting manager Helen Barnes said they have seen a drop in numbers through the centre this holiday season.
“This December we saw 5099 people come into the centre and the previous December 5323, so we are down on last year,” Ms Barnes said.
“We’re also down by 174 international visitors from this time last year.
“But, we are expecting similar numbers to the area heading into Australia Day – around 2500.”
Ms Barnes said the main cause to lower numbers at the beginning of the season was cooler weather and a mid-week Christmas.
“We had very low numbers in the first half of the season but numbers ramped up later in December and we are flat out at the moment, getting an average of 300 people a day into the centre.
“We’ve mainly seen people come for one to two night stays or they are after camping facilities and cheap accommodation options.
Other local businesses like Eden Gas and Gear say they have experienced a very busy season this year.
Gas and Gear owner Steve Tapscott said he believes it is the best holiday season they’ve seen in the last three to four years.
“Personally, it’s been a great summer and is up from last year, especially around Christmas and the New Year.
“We had our busiest day ever the other day with a lot of campers coming to the area, with the vast majority probably from Victoria but to me I’ve also noticed a lot more people from Canberra.
“We expect the Australia Day week to be busy as well,” he said.