A Good Christmas

Maffra Business and Tourism Association representatives said the second annual Maffra Christmas Festival was a huge success. Pictured back (from left) are Cherie and Michael Atkinson, Marcus Stobie, Lauren McQuillen and Pam Anderson, and (front) Jamella Sim, Wayne Robinson and Narelle Gray.

Maffra Business and Tourism Association representatives said the second annual Maffra Christmas Festival was a huge success. Pictured back (from left) are Cherie and Michael Atkinson, Marcus Stobie, Lauren McQuillen and Pam Anderson, and (front) Jamella Sim, Wayne Robinson and Narelle Gray.

Sale and Maffra's business and tourism associations have reported good Christmas sales, with a number of new initiatives encouraging people to shop local.

Sale Business and Tourism Association president Leeanne Pearce said shopping wasn't as frantic as previous years, though steadily busy during a two week period.

"This year, after talking to a number of our retailers, it appeared to be a stronger year than last year," Ms Pearce said.

"Many believe having a full week's trade has helped this, with shoppers taking advantage of the shops being open."

A major frustration was online shopping, and it was reported that some people had bought goods online then tried to return them to local stores.

Ms Pearce encouraged more traders to remain open after Christmas to take advantage of the tourism surge.

"The highway was crazy busy and Sale is the perfect place to stop if coming from Melbourne," she said.

"Unfortunately a lot of businesses weren't open which doesn't help our local economy at one of the busiest tourist times of the year," she said.

"The businesses that traded post Christmas were excited to see so many people in the town, largely due to visitors passing through.

"Sale is a tourist town and we should capitalise on this.

"Owners reported seeing many new faces, with one business reporting an increase in new customers by 28 per cent over their standard 10 per cent per month."

In Maffra, the second annual Christmas festival was a success, and Maffra Business and Tourism Association president Marcus Stobie said he was keen to see some fresh ideas in the new year.

"2016 was a productive year for the MBTA, which was highlighted by the reintroduction of the Maffra Money voucher system, a very successful second Maffra Christmas Festival and a growth in overall membership and support of the MBTA," he said.

"2017 is about maintaining momentum and ensuring that the foundations that have been built over the past two years remain intact."

Mr Stobie said focal points for the year ahead included building relationships with Wellington Shire Council, campaigning to reduce the speed limit in Johnson St, and promoting the new short stay recreational vehicle park.

There are also plans to launch a new promotion in conjunction with the SBTA in February, and a proposal for a new 'Welcome to Maffra' sign.

Mr Stobie encouraged members to start thinking about taking up leadership positions at the annual meeting in June.

"It's a great opportunity," he said.

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