Lockhart’s economy stands to lose more than $100,000 with the cancellation of the picnic races. The races were set to be held on Friday October 7 but wet grounds have forced the committee to cancel.
It is far from the first event to be cancelled in the Riverina since above-average rainfall started in May. The list of shows, sporting events and races being canncelled, postponed or altered is growing each week
Last year’s races attracted 1000 people who were estimated to have spent $110 each as a day visitor or $176 if they stayed overnight according to NSW Regional Tourism figures.
Riverina Regional Tourism chairman Greg Lawrence said the string of cancellations is “devastating” but hopes events can be postponed rather than cancelled.
“Unfortunately the weather is what it is,” he said.
“The impact is quite significant for retail, hotels, coffee shops, there is an all-round impact.”
Despite the growing list of cancelled events in the Riverina, Mr Lawrence is urging people to embrace upcoming events.
“Yes there has been water and rain but we aren’t flooded and there are wonderful things to be seen,” he said.
“Events are still happening but when driving be mindful of the conditions, do not drive through water.”
Lockhart Shire Council tourism officer Jennifer Conner supports his view and believes Lockhart’s Spirit of the Land Festival (October 8 and 9) will attract 5000 people.
“Because of all the cancellations people are looking for the next event,” she said.
“It’s disappointing for the other events who put so much time and energy in, it’s positive for Lockhart.”
Griffith City Council marketing manager Paige Campbell said the town’s events are all going ahead.
“All accommodation is booked out at the moment, there is not a spare bed in Griffith, the economy is booming,” she said.
“We have people ringing the visitor information centre to see how they can get here (because of water over roads).”