Tourism in Northam balloons for event

Danny Galbraith in the Experience WA cloud hopper, with director of the Night Glow Ruth Wilson.
Danny Galbraith in the Experience WA cloud hopper, with director of the Night Glow Ruth Wilson.

TOURISM in Northam reached new heights during the recent National Ballooning Championships, attracting more than 10,000 people.

Tourism officer Kate Berton said the week-long event had a huge effect on the region’s tourism.

“Accommodation was booked out for the whole week,” she said.

Ms Berton said after the ballooning events finished in the morning, visitors explored the town.

“The town was full, eating and drinking establishments were fully patronised.”

Shire of Northam chief executive Jason Whiteaker said the national coverage could only bring positives for Northam and the Avon.

“It was not unusual to drive down the main street of Northam in the middle of the day and see numbers of visitors walking around,” he said.

Tourists who could not find accommodation in Northam ventured into York and Toodyay.

The Night Glow event proved most popular, attracting about 6000 people.

Australian Ballooning Federation secretary Martin Tregale said he was impressed with Northam.

“It’s been one of the best championships I think we’ve had in recent times,” he said.

“I think everyone’s had a great week, it’s been a fantastic event – great weather, great organisers – thanks to the people of Northam for being great hosts.”

Northam Aero Club hosted this year’s championships.

“It’s been fantastic – we’ve had magnificent crowds and perfect weather,” club president Errol Croft said.

The event decided which pilots would represent Australia in Saga in Japan next year.

Matthew Scaife from NSW came first, followed by his wife Nicola Scaife and Peter Wright from Victoria third. All three pilots have now secured places at the international championships.

Andrew Clements and his team from Northam came 8th.

Throughout the week, officials set 23 individual tasks over a 40km course. Pilots were scored for each task based on accuracy. For full results www.northamnationals.com.