REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: That was a quacker long weekend for tourism

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There was a sense of the return to 'normal' as people headed off on holidays this Easter long weekend. Photo: File

There was a sense of the return to 'normal' as people headed off on holidays this Easter long weekend. Photo: File

We might not be back to "normal", but this Easter long weekend was a stark contrast to 2020.

Last year, the bushfires had just gone out. COVID restrictions had just come in. Hospitality businesses were desperately trying to stay afloat by offering home delivery services - even those whose menu was perhaps not best suited to delivery format (eggs benny and a steak dinner are two that spring to mind).

Country show after country show was cancelled, culminating in the cancellation of the Sydney Royal Easter show.

This year, despite the "black cloud of uncertainty", the very recent floods, and Brisbane just out of lockdown, things were very different.

The sun was shining on the NSW east coast, a change from the deluge of the weeks prior, and crowds flocked to the NSW south coast, as they would on any 'normal' year.

While there were no overseas visitors, local travel more than made up for it, with early numbers from the Illawarra region suggesting a 15-20 per cent increase in long weekend visitors compared to 2019.

Subscribers to the Illawarra Mercury can read all about it here.

And it wasn't the only region to rejoice in tourists.

The NSW Central West saw a tourism boom as people headed out to enjoy the wineries - subscribers to the Central Western Daily can read all about it here. It continued what has been a record-breaking tourism run for the region.

Lives were lost on our roads and at our beaches - a sobering reminder that a return to "normal" does not come without a cost.

Many parts of our "normal" could be improved upon, from the annoyance of the massive traffic jams in and out of Sydney, to the horror of the public holiday road toll, and the fact that people are 20 times more likely to drown on the Easter long weekend than any other public holiday.

The Sydney Royal Easter Show returned, to the delight of show fans young and old - but especially to the delight of those with a soft spot for fowl of the aquatic variety.

For the first time in the show's 199-year history, a duck was announced Grand Champion bird. A duck from Dapto at that! What a quacker achievement.

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