It was a bumper long weekend for Far South Coast tourism with cafes and shop owners reporting a significant increase in foot traffic thanks to the jam-packed schedule of events across the region.
President of the Eden Chamber of Commerce Eric Wolske said the town was full all weekend, with lots of caravans passing through and great business for retail and hospitality sector owners.
The Chamber of Commerce committee met on Tuesday, June 14 and reported back that shop owners along the main street had done an excellent job to cross-promote one another during their busy period.
Mr Wolske said a lot of the extra tourism would have been brought about thanks to events across the shire, particularly the Jazz Festival and WinterSun in Merimbula, as well as the Bega Valley Rally held across roads and tracks from North Bega to Eden.
John Watkin from the Bega Chamber of Commerce had similar comments about tourism in the Bega district and said there were more people around and more vehicle movements about with the rally in town and string of other events in the Shire.
"From what I could see the carparks were full, there were lots and lots of vehicles around, and the showground was full of caravans, it was very busy over the weekend - a bumper weekend really," he said.
Rally secretary David Stephens said most of the drivers participating in the rally and their support crews would have likely elected to stay in Eden and its surrounds as the event finished up on the Saturday night and recommenced the next morning at Boydtown.
He said Bega Valley Rally estimated there were around 500 additional people staying in the region for the event, which was held from Friday to Sunday evening.
According to the rough calculations of the organising committee, the event would have brought in around $500,000 into the Valley - thanks to accommodation providers being booked out and fuel expenses for the drivers, crews, and spectators attending the event.
"The competitors came from as far as South Australia, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and across NSW. Some people travelled for up to two days to get here," he said.
Mr Stephens said many Far South Coast locals were involved in the event, from officiating to spectating, to even bringing in their own chainsaws to the tracks after strong gusts of wind on Saturday, June 11 brought down trees and even took off the roof of one official's home in Eden.
"We had people out with chainsaws at first light and before trying to clear stages. As a result we lost two competitive stages," he said.
Many drivers decided to pull out that day due to the lingering gusty weather. Due to the weather and trees down on some of the tracks the number of cars competing in the rally dropped from a starting number of 74 and down to 39.
Mr Stephens said the help of local residents all around the Bega Valley Shire was vital to the running of the event.
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