IT’S FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY

Jaca tourists ig­nor­ing road rules an ac­ci­dent wait­ing to hap­pen

The Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - Tim Howard tim.howard@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

GRAFTON driv­ers might need to ex­er­cise more care in the Jacaranda City’s pur­ple hotspots as awestruck tourists are likely to ig­nore traf­fic con­di­tions to get a bet­ter look at the blooms.

Clarence Val­ley Coun­cil’s events and pro­mo­tions of­fi­cer Ali­cia Savel­loni said it was im­por­tant to en­sure vis­i­tors con­tin­ued to feel wel­come in the city.

“The is­sue needs to be han­dled so that peo­ple keep safe but aren’t scared away by harsh reg­u­la­tions,” Ms Savel­loni said.

“Our civil ser­vice sec­tion maybe could look at ways of slow­ing the traf­fic around the ar­eas most of­ten used for cer­tain times of the year.”

She said warn­ing vis­i­tors to be care­ful of the traf­fic con­di­tions might be some­thing to add to pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial for the sea­son.

Vis­i­tor num­bers from Asian coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties within Aus­tralia have sky­rock­eted since a pro­mo­tional cam­paign tar­get­ing the

sec­tor be­gan sev­eral years ago.

Ms Savel­loni said the coun­cil’s pro­mo­tion of the Jacaranda Fes­ti­val had added another di­men­sion since the coun­cil part­nered with the Jacaranda Fes­ti­val Com­mit­tee in 2015 to pro­mote the fes­ti­val.

“With the ini­tial suc­cess of pro­mot­ing the Jacaranda Fes­ti­val, the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Team and the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try saw there was an op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote a par­al­lel event in the Jacaranda sea­son.

“Last year the EDT staff did a sur­vey in Chi­nese, Ja­panese and Thai lan­guages with vis­i­tors and we found a few things that sur­prised us,” Ms Savel­loni said.

“We found the ma­jor­ity of Chi­nese Aus­tralian vis­i­tors were com­ing from Syd­ney and not Bris­bane as we ex­pected.

“Also most of the vis­i­tors were in the 25-34 years age group with peo­ple ei­ther on study or work visas.

“So it was im­por­tant we di­rected our so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing on Face­book and In­sta­gram at that de­mo­graphic.”

Ms Savel­loni said the ap­proach has paid off.

“We’ve had a huge num­ber of hits on the sites.”

She said the coun­cil hired in­ter­net con­sul­tant Ben Yuan eight weeks ago to de­velop ma­te­rial for the two most pop­u­lar Chi­nese so­cial me­dia plat­forms, Weibo and Wechat.

“Ben has cre­ated My Clarence Val­ley pages on both those plat­forms pro­mot­ing the Jacaranda Fes­ti­val and the Jacaranda sea­son,” Ms Savel­loni said.

Speak­ing to vis­i­tors, it has been the in­ter­net cam­paign that has at­tracted most peo­ple to the re­gion.

Yes­ter­day, three Tai­wanese friends, Vin­cent Le, Kadence Chang and Ariel Lin, de­cided on a day visit to Grafton to catch the jacaran­das in full bloom.

“We saw it on the in­ter­net and thought it looked very beau­ti­ful,” Mr Le said.

PHOTO: TIM HOWARD

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL FLAVOUR: Grafton’s Jacaran­das have been pop­u­lar with Asian vis­i­tors to Grafton re­spond­ing to the Clarence Val­ley Coun­cil's so­cial me­dia cam­paing.

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