Accommodation in big demand
Thursday, 12th April, 2018
By Emily Roberts
Accommodation is in high demand as the city’s tourism season gets underway,
Silver City Tours’ Wincen Cuy said from an accommodation standpoint, Broken Hill was doing considerably well.
“The numbers from the motel’s point of view have been absolutely excellent,” he said.
“There was no room available in Broken Hill last night, it took one visitor an hour-and-a-half to find availability and I think it was the last room in Broken Hill.
“So that was fantastic from an accommodation point of view, but that’s not only tourism - it’s also the windfarm and the pipeline project which is boosting accommodation.”
Mr Cuy said tourism is holding its own.
“You expect it to pick up around this time of year. The tourist season usually starts after St Pat’s and runs until the first week of June.
“In autumn there is a high shoulder and then there will be a lull in winter before our peak season in spring.
“I think it’s normal for this time of year.
“You will get the people who are interested in Broken Hill, the ageing baby boomers will be out and about with their campervans.
“This is the time they do their annual jaunt around the countryside.”
Mr Cuy said while the numbers have been positive, it would be a good time for all tourist operators to come together.
“While we are on a high, it would help the tourist industry and Broken Hill as a whole to look at coming together to see how all operators can benefit from the increase.
“If we all got together to work as one as we have in the past - it would increase the potential.”
Broken Hill City Sights Tours’ owner Milton Hawke said March and April had been productive for his tours.
“We had a good March and April has been good to date.
“We start running two tours in winter, once the sun starts setting earlier.
“I think once the temperature finally drops it will pick up.
“I’m a one-man band, so I mainly deal with the grey nomads.
“They are starting to move which is positive for the economy.”
The RFDS Bruce Langford Visitor Centre numbers are down by about five per cent from last year.
Business Manager Sue Williams attributes that to the later start to school holidays.
“It’s been different this year, as the school holidays were right after Easter last year.
“So it has been a little bit slower, but once school holidays start - it will pick up.
“To date, we are down by about 5 per cent, but we have seen an increase in just customers and online orders.
“The online orders have increased by 38 per cent.
“Altogether there has been an increase in activity by seven per cent from this time last year.”
Ms Williams said it was hard to tell if the weather was playing a factor.
“We have all our coach tours pre-book, so they come in regardless.
“Those numbers are equal from last year.
“There is potential for the grey nomad tourists. At the moment, they are not staying as long.
“From talking to them, they tell me how surprised they are with how warm it still is and how cold the mornings are as well.”
Ms Williams said the centre has extended its trading hours over three weekends to accommodate the change when school holidays start.
They will also be open from 1pm on ANZAC Day to give people something to do after the services.
“We have merchandise to celebrate our 90 years - there are lots of things to come and see.”
Pro Hart Art Gallery’s gallery assistant Belinda Maalste said numbers had been down, but it was picking up.
“March is usually when we are busy,” she said.
“It should start to pick up. Our tour groups are always popular.”
The volunteer walking group which has started up again is receiving a large amount of interest.
Organiser Carol McGavisk said they have had some really great days.
“Some days we get quite a few people join the tour. Some days there are only two people.
“We expect it to be busy over the school holidays, especially once the weather drops.”
Ms McGavisk said they are still looking for volunteers to help with the tour.
A Council spokesman said they have seen a downturn in visitors to the city.
“A slight downturn in visitation to the region was probably to be expected given the ongoing decline of the Menindee Lakes and Darling River, along with the very hot and dry summer we’ve endured,” he said.
“Broken Hill’s tourism cycle is generally quite steady, with low tourist numbers during the hot months between November to March, and a rise in numbers once the hot weather abates.
“The city’s high season is April to October with peaks during school holidays, and that increase corresponds with an increase in visitation at tourism and cultural facilities.
“A total 14,260 visitors have visited the VIC during the January-March period, compared to 15,013 for the same period last year.
“The Starview Campsite (located at the Sculptures) has already proven a great success, with 165 people enjoying the new facility between November 2017 and March 2018, despite that period representing the city’s hottest and quietest months.”
The Silver City Mint, Tri State Safaris and Outback Astronomy were also contacted for a comment.