Ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS - BILL NORTH Ed­i­tor

AS IT should, the Jacaranda Fes­ti­val at­tracts vis­i­tors from all over the world.

More and more in­ter­na­tional tourists are lured to the vivid pur­ple of Grafton’s jacaranda-lined streets every spring, thanks largely to a rein­vig­o­rated mar­ket­ing push led by the fes­ti­val’s co­or­di­na­tor for the past three years, Donna Hunt.

The struc­ture and func­tion of the com­mit­tee has been re­vamped, but more im­por­tantly the fes­ti­val’s mar­ket­ing has en­tered the mod­ern age, reach­ing far cor­ners of the planet.

“Twice our web­site has crashed and we’ve had to in­crease the band­width to cope with the de­mand,” Ms Hunt said.

“A lot of the web­site traf­fic is in­ter­na­tional, fol­lowed by Syd­ney and Bris­bane. The num­bers are ac­tu­ally very low for lo­cal – I guess they al­ready know what’s go­ing on.”

But with the in­crease of in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors from dif­fer­ent cul­tures comes a dif­fer­ent set of be­hav­iours on our roads. A drive down Jacaranda Av­enue or Turf St on any day this week re­quires a lit­tle more con­cen­tra­tion, as mul­ti­ple tourists play ‘chicken’ for the sake of seek­ing that per­fect pho­to­graph.

“I do worry there’s go­ing to be an ac­ci­dent. They’re quite brave, or maybe dis­tracted,” Ms Hunt said. “We’ve done a lot of work to boost our in­ter­na­tional tourism so we don’t want any­one to get hurt that could jeop­ar­dise that.”

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