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Press Release: Record year at Cape Otway Lightstation

Issued: 30 June 2009

IN SPITE of the hit tourism is taking during the global economic crisis Cape Otway Lightstation will set new records in 2008/09 with visitor numbers set to top 84,000 by June 30.

Lightstation manager Paul Thompson said annual visitor numbers had jumped by almost 3,000 since last year and the heritage precinct’s accommodation occupancy rates were also up by 25 per cent.

“We’ve just had our biggest year ever, both in visitor numbers and revenue,” Mr Thompson said.

“Generally there’s a bit of doom and gloom out there, but we’re bucking the trend.”

Although the number of international visitors was down on previous years, Mr Thompson said Victorians had taken up the slack.

“People are holidaying at home in response to the recession, our international markets are down, our interstate market is static, and we’re definitely getting more people from within Victoria.”

Mr Thompson owed the Lightstation’s success in difficult times to its commitment to constant improvements and careful restoration work on the 1848 lighthouse, Telegraph Station and World War Two Radar Bunker, plus new walking trails.

“People comment on the improvements that have been made, and a lot of people return and bring friends and family with them,” he said.

“People are also looking for winter and summer experiences at Cape Otway – it’s beautiful in the summer and stepping out onto the lighthouse balcony in high winds is quite invigorating in the winter. We’re seeing whales almost every day now, which is a great drawcard. We had three this afternoon. The lighthouse balcony is 80m above the sea and makes for a great whale-viewing platform.

Mr Thompson said although it appeared the winter months were going to be quiet at the Lightstation, advance bookings for October through to February were very strong.

In August, the Lightstation will be celebrating International Lighthouse Weekend, an annual event with historical re-enactments, entertainment, kids’ activities, dinner & ghost tour.

For more information, please contact Paul Thompson on 5237 9240 or visit www.lightstation.com

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