Parkes Elvis Festival a finalist in the 2019 Grey Nomad Awards

2019: Marina and Roger Lindsay with Kerry and Chris Levi, all from Sydney, arrived at this year's Parkes Elvis Festival in style, aboard the Elvis Express. Photo: Barbara Reeves
2019: Marina and Roger Lindsay with Kerry and Chris Levi, all from Sydney, arrived at this year's Parkes Elvis Festival in style, aboard the Elvis Express. Photo: Barbara Reeves

It's official Parkes - our Elvis Festival has become a bucket-list destination for mature-age tourists after it has been named a finalist in the 2019 Grey Nomad Awards.

The festival has been shortlisted in the "Best Grey Nomad Festival or Event" category.

The Parkes Elvis Festival is the largest celebration of Elvis' life in the Southern Hemisphere, encompassing more than 200 events across five days.

Grey nomads made happy by crooning rebirthed Elvis songs, were even cheerier upon learning that 80 per cent of events were free to attend.

In a special announcement made on Tuesday, festival organisers said the typical festival visitor is a mature traveller over 50 who stays in a caravan or RV.

Statistics show that one in every three visitors are over the age of 65.

"We are beyond thrilled to be nominated for a Grey Nomad Award," festival director Cathy Treasure said.

"Parkes Elvis Festival has been a cultural touchstone of regional NSW for over 25 years and this is largely thanks to the unbridled support of travellers over 50."

The awards were judged by mature-age tourism professionals, some of whom have experienced the grey nomad lifestyle and attended the festival personally, adding weight to the Parkes Elvis Festival'ssuccess as a finalist.

The judges congratulated the Parkes Shire Council on catering so well to grey nomad festival goers.

"We love that the town found a unique way to attract visitors when much of Australia is focused on seaside holidays," the judges said in the announcement.

"As children of the 50s and 60s, grey nomads love Elvis and we can see why a favoured activity this year was participating in the love-filled Elvis Renewal of Vows ceremony.

"Festivals like the Parkes Elvis Festivalencourage people over 55 to see, learn about and enjoy the many facets of Australia, and therefore make a valuable tourism contribution well beyond what is initially recognised."

According to the announcement, grey nomads are a huge, still largely untapped segment that represent one of the biggest opportunities in domestic tourism.

This age segment possesses 32 per cent of Australia's disposable income and it's been discovered they are fiercely loyal. Once they discover something they like, they will return.

The awards dinner is being held on the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday, November 6, immediately following The Art of Attraction Tourism summit, which will feature guest-speaker Ms Treasure.

The summit marks the first national event to explore two fast-growing 21st century tourism segments - senior travel and arts tourism.

Tickets to all Parkes Elvis Festival shows, across the many venues in town, are available to purchase online now at www.parkeselvisfestival.com.au.

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