Ideal weather has helped to pave the way for strong tourism numbers to the Barossa since Friday with the Valley Hot Rodders’ Cruise On event and yesterday’s Tour Down Under being big drawcards to the region.
Barossa Visitor Information Centre manager, Ms Jo Seabrook said statistics for the Valley Hot Rodders weekend are consistent with previous years, with preparations in full swing on Monday ready for the Tour Down Under Tanunda to Tanunda event yesterday.
“We have been getting plenty of enquiries about the event and are expecting large crowds again in Tanunda main street for the Ziptrak Stage 1 which has the men’s race start and finish in the town,” said Jo.
“We hope that the loops will help to keep people in the region longer to enjoy the Barossa hospitality at the various viewing points along the track.”
She credited the region’s tourism operators, local traders and community groups for getting behind both these events which make them the success they are.
Staff at Red Door Espresso, Tanunda were enjoying the boost to the main street’s profile with two major events within the space of a few days, as well as other events happening around the region.
“Especially this weekend I was giving out lots of those Tourism Barossa ‘What’s On’ guides, to help promote the Bedford Noodle Market and the Hot Rod Show as well, things people didn’t even realise were on,” said Red Door’s restaurant manager, Ms Penelope De Ruiter.
“I think they were pretty happy that there were things to do. It’s improving their holiday as well.
“We’ve actually been doing a little bit of retraining with our staff, telling them that we don’t just have to promote ourselves, let’s help our friends and neighbours as well because at the end of the day, they’re going to help us.”
Penelope said Red Door Espresso is particularly pumped about the Tour Down Under, with Stage 1 sponsor, Ziptrak booking out their dining room for lunch.
They also thought carefully about the best way to manage the flow of customers on race day, opting to have a pop up shop for quick sales of coffee, drinks and food out the front of the premises.
“It’s recognising where the traffic will be and just being a bit smarter about it. Obviously we don’t normally have a pop up shop, but I think people want to stay on the streets, they don’t want to come in,” she said.
Fellow Tanunda trader, Sweet As Barossa Diner banked on tripling their usual capacity for the TDU, on the back of a booming Cruise On event over the weekend.
“We thought, let’s just times it by three and see what happens,” said owner/operator, Mr Nick Hamilton.
“Whereas Cruise On we’ve had experience from last year and it’s pretty predicable as to what’s going to go on. The theme fits, they’re pre-1970s cars and we’re 1950s so it all fits perfectly.
“It’s good to have the buzz about the place and people in and out, and it all ran pretty smoothly.”
Barossa Mayor Michael “Bim” Lange credited the weekend’s Valley Hot Rodders’ Cruise On and yesterday’s Tour Down Under to boost tourism numbers and inject dollars into the towns.
He said walking Murray Street, Tanunda on Saturday night brought back many memories of his younger years and looked forward to welcoming cyclists and cycling enthusiasts to the Barossa yesterday.
“The whole of Tanunda was pumping on Saturday and hopefully the spin off benefits the wider towns as well,” said Mr Lange.
“The Cruise On brings different people to the Valley and walking up and down the street… it was a huge drawcard and those impressive cars, for me, was a trip down memory lane.
“And then coupled with the Tour Down Under to have it here for the whole day is a bonus for our region.”
A cycling enthusiast, Mr Lange was excited about the atmosphere the Tour Down Under brought to the Barossa and noted the opportunity many had to catch up with people they haven’t seen for a while.
“I have a huge number of friends who rode up for the day and spent the day in the street and a lot of other people will do the exact same thing,” said Mr Lange.
“There’s a carnival atmosphere for the Tour Down Under and what I see is something similar to what I witnessed in Italy.”
Bringing competitors to the region for a five lap Tanunda to Tanunda event resulted in many vantage points around the Barossa and what Mr Lange described as a real win for the Barossa.
Mr Lange also acknowledged volunteer efforts at both events to help make them a success.