HAVING A SPLASHING TIME, WISH YOU WERE HERE
VISITORS are being urged not to call off planned visits to the NSW Hunter Valley because of the recent floods. Much of the area is unaffected — the gateway Maitland region was worst hit — and operators who rely on tourists for a living are keen to get across the business-as-usual message.
The Grand Mercure Apartments, The Vintage, is one business that has been fielding calls from travellers asking if they should cancel.
But general manager Vickie O’Brien says the resort has not been affected. ‘‘ We have had a lot of calls from people who are concerned that the hotel might have suffered some damage,’’ she says. ‘‘ But it’s business as usual here. We were full for the entire weekend and the only thing the wet weather did was encourage people to stay indoors and enjoy their private fireplaces with some Hunter wine and local produce instead of venturing too far afield.
‘‘ There is real concern visitors might stay away from the Hunter region at a time when it most needs support.’’
It’s a similar story at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in Lovedale where general manager Neil Houghton says the resort escaped unscathed apart from some minor flooding on the golf course and gardens.
‘‘ There’s no doubt it has been horrific,’’ Houghton says. ‘‘ Lots of people have been affected, have lost their homes, their cars, their businesses. It’s tragic.
‘‘ But the other side of the coin is that we’re OK, lots of other businesses locally are OK, and we’re open and hoping to see people come and enjoy the Hunter Valley as they’d planned.’’ Barry Oliver