AS IT should, the Jacaranda Festival attracts visitors from all over the world.

More and more international tourists are lured to the vivid purple of Grafton's jacaranda-lined streets every spring.

But with the increase of international visitors from different cultures comes a different set of behaviours on our roads. A drive down Jacaranda Avenue or Turf St on any day this week requires a little more concentration, as multiple tourists play 'chicken' on busy roads for the sake of seeking that perfect photograph of streets paved in a magic purple carpet.

The more the merrier, but I can't help but feel it's only a matter of time before this over-enthusiasm turns into tragedy.

International tourists in Grafton for the Jacaranda Festival are doing whatever it takes to capture the perfect jacaranda photos including playing 'chicken' with traffic on some of the city's busiest roads.
International tourists in Grafton for the Jacaranda Festival are doing whatever it takes to capture the perfect jacaranda photos including playing 'chicken' with traffic on some of the city's busiest roads. Bill North

The influx of visitors is thanks largely to a reinvigorated marketing push from the revamped committee led by the festival's coordinator for the past three years, Donna Hunt.

"I don't know if it's (tourists on the roads) upsetting people, but I have heard a lot of jokes about it," Ms Hunt said.

"But I do worry there's going to be an accident. They're quite brave, or maybe distracted," Ms Hunt said. "We've done a lot of work to boost our international tourism so we don't want anyone to get hurt that could jeopardise that."

<< HIGHLIGHTS: More than 180 photos from the 2017 Jacaranda Crowning >>

The festival's marketing has entered the modern age, reaching its intended audience in the far corners of the planet.

"We've definitely pushed it in the right direction, the festival committee and how it works has changed a lot," Ms Hunt said.

"I think we've put the foundation there, and it will take another two years to be running as well as we need to.

"Twice our website has crashed and we've had to increase the bandwidth to cope with the demand.

"Last year we had 25,000 hits on Google Analytics and the website never crashed. It will be hugely interesting to see just what the figures are this year.

"A lot of the website traffic is international, followed by Sydney and Brisbane. The numbers are actually very low for local - I guess they already know what's going on."

Clarence Valley Council is currently in the process of doing a survey on the demographics of visitors to the city this year.


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