Byron gets tick from tourists

ALMOST 90% of Byron shire's tourists are happy with their holiday experience, despite growing concerns about parking, traffic, cleanliness of the public toilets and the state of the roads.

A new survey released this week - the Byron Shire Visitor Profile and Satisfaction report - was under- taken by Tourism Research Australia in partnership with Byron Shire Council and Destination NSW.

Of the tourists surveyed, 87% said they were "satisfied" with their experience, with 44% "very satisfied".

But councillor Basil Cameron, chairman of the council's Tourism Advisory Committee, admitted there was "plenty of room for improvement".

"The results showed that the shire has a strong repeat visitor rate with seven out of 10 visitors choosing to return to the area," he said.

"The key drivers for overall satisfaction were local atmosphere, variety of things to see and do, and attractions.

"Those of us lucky enough to live in the shire get to see and experience this every day of the year."

The top-five activities were general sightseeing (79%), going to the beach (76%), eating out (76%), going shopping (65%) and going to the markets (54%).

But visitors also pointed out that they were less than impressed with certain aspects, including commercial accommodation, customer service, friendliness of the locals, information services, local transport, parking, personal safety and security, public toilets, roads, signage, tours and value for money.

In particular, four main issues stood out:

  • parking, including the cost and lack of it;
  • traffic congestion;
  • cleanliness of the public toilets, and;
  • general state of roads.

Cr Cameron said these issues were similar to those identified by the community.

He said the council had been calling on the State Government to increase tourism funding and infrastructure.

Cr Cameron also said the council was developing a "whole-of-shire community identity, a review of visitor information services, and further investigating funding for maintenance needs for the much-loved shire".

A community meeting on traffic and parking will be held before the end of the year.

OUR TOURISTS

  • 80% of visitors were in the Byron shire for holiday or leisure purposes, with 15% visiting friends or relatives.
  • A third of all visitors planned more than three months in advance.
  • 65% used the internet to get information for the trip.
  • 23% stayed in a rented house/apartment, 21% in a caravan or camping ground and 18% in a backpackers.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT THE BYRON SHIRE?

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