Mick Hinch captured this fish's eye view of the lighthouse from turners beach in Yamba.
Mick Hinch captured this fish's eye view of the lighthouse from turners beach in Yamba.

Clarence Valley outperforms NSW in tourism growth

THE Clarence Valley is out-performing the whole state in tourism growth, according to Clarence Valley Council, with Yamba the jewel in the crown.

Director environment, planning and community Des Schroder said the Clarence Valley had recorded a 12.2 per cent growth, while NSW had only notched up a 5.7 per cent growth.

Tourism has become one of the Valley's biggest employers with 6.8 per cent of people employed in the Valley working in tourism and hospitality according to Mr Schroder..

Council statistics show Yamba has become the fourth most visited town in the North Coast behind Byron Bay, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour, with more tourists than Ballina, Tweed Heads and Old Bar, Taree.

Mr Schroder said according to NSW tourism research Yamba statistics are merely 30 per cent of Byron Bay's tourism numbers at the moment, but it might not be that way for long.

"Yamba is growing but it's not Byron Bay yet from a tourism point of view, but it's getting up there," he said.

Mr Schroder added the population of Yamba is fairly stable, but still growing.

He said the influx of people visiting Yamba around Christmas is starting to become a constant stream of tourists all year round.

"The impact of the highway will make a big difference," Mr Schroder said. "The highway will improve access for people coming to Yamba from the north and south."

With 30 per cent of tourists visiting Yamba hailing from South-East Queensland he said the council is conscious the tourism in Yamba will continue to grow.

"All council can do is put the framework in place," Mr Schroder said.

"We need to manage lifestyle for the locals while allowing for tourism growth which balances jobs. You need tourism to create jobs but you don't want to be over run by tourists."

He said they have always planned to cater for about 10,500 people in Yamba and the population is currently at 6000.

"The growth in west Yamba is starting to happen, that will put another two or three thousand people in Yamba over the next 10 years."

He said council has plans in place for Yamba, including for the intersections, access into town and alternative access for the west Yamba development.

Council has also put in place measures to better manage campers who frequent Yamba's beaches.

"We put in some actions similar to Byron to limit camping on beaches and that's part of managing the tourist issue," he said.

The redevelopment of Calypso Holiday Park will help create more space for the small campers and the influx of tourists who are now visiting the coastal village all year round.

He said council has ensured infrastructure is in place, with water main and sewerage upgrades.

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