So successful was the Port's first ever wellbeing expo, held at the Shoal Bay Convention Centre on Saturday, March 28, that the organisers are already planning next year's event.
Event organisers, nutritionist Chontelle Grecian and wellbeing practitioner Kerri Rodley, said that they were overwhelmed by the interest and support from the Port Stephens community and visitors who travelled from further afield.
"The expo received great community support and interest from visitors including some people who travelled from Tamworth for the event," Ms Grecian said.
"The anecdotal feedback centred around the theme that locals were 'happy to have something like this in the Bay without the need to travel to Newcastle or any other city'. We're already planning the 2022 event."
The expo, which featured workshops in massage, nutrition, naturopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, reiki, yoga and physiotherapy, attracted 37 stallholders and in excess of 420 attendees.
"In addition to the overall success of the day, we managed to raise $1120 - proceeds from the event - for the Nelson Bay-based Yacaaba Centre, and a cheque presentation was made to centre manager Petra Offen."
The event organisers say they were able to combine their 30 years of experience in the health and wellbeing industry to ensure that locals would have access to the incredible range of practitioners on offer, and to position the area as the place for an escape outside of Sydney.
"Port Stephens has a truly unique and professional range of practitioners, everything for every body, and we were proud to showcase them at the expo," Ms Grecian added.
"We were able to provide a professional framework for participating businesses to showcase what our region has to offer, with a range of health philosophies, from blue zones to a more clinical approach.
"People often travel to Byron Bay and further afield for a retreat but they aren't aware of what is on their own doorstep. Now, especially after what 2020 threw at business owners in the health and wellbeing sector, we want to boost this industry and create a strong network for years to come."
Ms Rodley said she hoped that the success of the expo would promote Port Stephens as the wellbeing destination for visitors from Sydney and regional NSW.