Lorne's loss may have been our tourism gain

Lorne's loss may have been our tourism gain

The sudden cancellation of the Falls Festival at Lorne on December 29 seems to have contributed to strong Summer visitor numbers for the wider Limestone Coast region.

James Holyman, Chief Executive of Robe Council said while there were no firm numbers available as yet, anecdotally visitor numbers appeared to be very strong.

The cancellation of the festival displaced around 9,000 people.

Mr Holyman gave the example of an enquiry he received from the mother of a concert goer who was trying to find a campsite for her child who was travelling with a group of friends.

"We couldn't see a vacant campsite from the border to the Limestone Coast," Mr Holyman said.

"The closest place she could find was at Goolwa. I also looked on Airbnb and Expedia - there didn't seem to be single room left in Robe.

"So anecdotally there seems to be an increase, and I think the Falls cancellation contributed."

The Summer visitor season lasts from mid December right through to Easter, but Mr Holyman said he believed there was an increase in people coming to Robe right throughout the year.

It seems more people are discovering the attractions of the Limestone Coast, with Mr Holyman adding;

"It's a privilege to have to live here."

He said he had commissioned a company called Geographica who would use banking data to gather information on visitation.

By tracing transactions, it was possible to gain a picture of visitor movements; where they go, how long they stay, and how much they spend.

"This will give us a reasonable model of visitation which will help us when planning our marketing programs year round," Mr Holyman said.

The Falls Festival in Lorne was cancelled after the first day due to the predicted extreme weather predictions forecast for Monday December 30th in the Otways and surrounding region,

The 9,000 campers were asked to "calmly pack up your campsite and return to your place of origin. There is no need to rush, please ensure you have a sober driver."

All ticket purchasers for the event were told they would receive a full refund including booking and payment processing fees.

Secret Sounds Co CEO Jessica Ducrou said in a statement;

"We are gutted to make this call but the safety of our patrons, artists and staff is our main priority.

"We would like to thank our regional emergency management team, Surf Coast Council, SES, Police and CFA for their support and advice during this time.

"We would also like to thank our Falls family who work year round and over the last few weeks who have put their heart and soul into Falls Lorne, we are forever grateful.

"Please take care getting home safely."

Falls events in Byron, Marion Bay and Fremantle were unaffected.