Tourists choose the Riverland for their holiday destination… PACKED TO THE RAFTERS

Renmark Riverbend Caravan Park manager Brett Hein says it is a relief to see so many returned and new guests enjoying the Riverland after a difficult 2020. PHOTO: Alice Kuerschner

HOLIDAY makers have flocked to the Riverland for their summer getaway, with local caravan parks and accommodation providers packed full of visitors.
The region is currently a hive of activity, thanks to school holidays and relaxed border restrictions allowing interstate visitors back to the Riverland.
According to a SAPOL spokesperson, travellers were met with up to three hours of waiting time at Yamba before given access to SA.
Renmark Riverbend Caravan Park manager Brett Hein said the facility was full of long-time returned guests as well as people new to the region.
“This time of the year we have a lot of returned guests, but we have some new ones too,” he said.
Mr Hein said after such a difficult year it was pleasing to have a busy park.
“Especially after the last lockdown we did go very quiet,” he said.
“I think it knocked the confidence for a lot of people and the number of grey nomads we had slowed right now.
“But at the moment it’s as normal as it has been all year. We’re just very happy to be very busy again.”
Meanwhile, Loxton Hotel general manager Darren Morrison said the hotel experienced a tough period in the lead-up to Christmas, but things were looking up.
“We lost a lot of pre-Christmas groups and functions due to the lockdown and restrictions but we have recovered really well,” he said.
“We’ve had strong trade in all areas of the hotel and the signs are good for the rest of the summer.”
Mr Morrison said the hotel has had strong support from both locals and visitors.
“In the lead-up to Christmas it was mainly locals and we’ve seen a lot of people from other Riverland towns as well,” he said.
“Since Christmas there are lots of tourists around which has been great for us.
“Our newly renovated areas have been very popular and this has meant a lot of repeat visits, so we have stayed busy.”
Mr Morrison said the change to standing and drinking restrictions had made a substantial difference to the hotel’s atmosphere.
“It has made a huge difference – people want to socialise with their friends and family and often they aren’t sitting together so it has been difficult,” he said.
“Now that people can stand, they can mingle with their friends and the atmosphere is more relaxed.
“The bars were really affected by patrons having to sit down so we’re hopeful this restriction won’t return.”
Mr Morrison said he feels fortunate to have traded in a somewhat normal environment despite the presence of restrictions for most of 2020.
“We’re hopeful that the remainder of restrictions will ease soon and things return to normal,” he said.
“We would like to thank everyone for their support and patronage during the year. We’ve really appreciated it.”

Jane Kuerschner

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Jane Kuerschner completed a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia in 2014. She worked as an editorial messenger at The Advertiser before starting as a journalist at the Murray Pioneer. She grew up in Orroroo before completing her high school education and university studies in Adelaide. Jane is passionate about sport and in particular Australian Rules.

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