Byron Bay mayor urges tourists to visit despite festival cancellations

Mayor Simon Richardson estimates the loss to the local economy is "in the tens of millions"

Byron Bay mayor Simon Richardson has encouraged tourists to holiday in the coastal town despite the recent cancellation of Splendour In The Grass for 2020.

Richardson said the cancellation of Splendour and Bluesfest in March, in addition to the recent bushfire crisis, would have a detrimental impact on the local economy. As the ABC reported, the North Byron Parklands, which hosts Splendour and Falls Festival, estimates the two events lead to more than $25million in spending in the Byron Bay shire area.

“The losses are in the tens of millions,” Richardson told the ABC yesterday (June 10).

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“Not too many people could have seen just the scale and the amount of impediments to normality.”

In March, Richardson called on the New South Wales Government to prevent buses full of city residents from travelling to regional towns out of concern they’d spread COVID-19 to more vulnerable areas. Now, as restrictions begin to ease nationwide, the mayor hopes they still decide to holiday in Byron Bay even if Splendour and Bluesfest aren’t going ahead.

“A few months ago we were all quite public in saying that we love our visitors but we just want them to stay at home, now I guess the message is that we love our visitors and we’d love them to come and enjoy what we have to offer,” he told the ABC.

After being pushed back from July to October, Splendour In The Grass announced yesterday that its 2020 event would no longer go ahead at all. Event organisers said they “intend to rebook as many of the 2020 artists as possible”.

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