Swine flu decreases Ekka turnout
Wednesday, August 12, 2009, 6:02 pm
Sparse crowds over the Ekka’s opening weekend confirmed fears that swine flu will affect overall gate numbers this year.
Although the RNA Showgrounds do not release official figures for the annual event, an RNA media spokesperson yesterday said there had been a drop in numbers.
“I can confirm that the numbers from the first weekend were slightly down,” the spokesperson said.
“But you have to remember that 2008 was a bumper year, especially after 2007.”
Although the seasonal flu does pose a threat to the Ekka’s numbers every year, workers at the event said this year they have noticed a change in attitude in most showgoers.
Promotional worker Lauren Hand, who works at the show annually, said this year people were keeping their distance.
“Swine flu is definitely making people a lot more wary,” Ms Hand said.
“Everyone seems quite cautious and are avoiding too-close contact.
“I’ve seen a lot of people carrying hand sanitiser as well.”
Although it is evident that swine flu has deterred a lot of people from this year’s show, Mackay couple Deb and Peter Hitchcock said it would take more than that to keep them away.
“If you’re going to get it [swine flu], you’re going to get it,” Mr Hitchcock said.
“We last came to the show 17 years ago, and we weren’t going to let swine flu keep us from coming this year.
“There are quite a few cases in Mackay so if you go to the shopping centre you could get it just as much there as you could here.”
The Ekka closes its gates for another year this Saturday night.