ABOUT 50 caravans have used the Monto Community 72-Hour Rest Stop in the past month. The transition for Monto Magic leasing the area has gone smoothly except for the delayed recruitment of a camp host.

Monto Magic committee member John MacElroy has collected the $5 fee from the travellers on a daily basis in the meantime.

As the original creator of the idea, he said the spot's conversion was more than two years in the making, with further developments on the way.

"It brings nothing but benefit; every business is benefiting," he said.

"A dump point will be put in the next week or fortnight.

"We will put railway memorabilia and antique items in the railway station to give people something to look at.

"Because we are on a lease, we have to pay rates, which is why the fee is there."

Monto Magic president Liz Robertson said even though it had been only a month, the result was visible.

"We are already getting close to paying off our rates from the money collected," she said.

"The people stopping here used to drive around Monto to free rest areas like Ceratodus and Coominglah Range."

The camp host's duty will be to collect receipts from the travellers' purchases to see how much money gets injected into Monto's economy.

To give an idea of figures to expect, Jamie Harris of Jamie's 4x4 Tag-Along Tours has been surveying the amount tourists staying at Wuruma Dam spend in Monto.

In a 16-day period in June, Mr Harris collected receipts totalling more than $20,000.

Alan Finnie and Shirley Graham are from New Zealand and travelling Australia.

They choose to stay overnight at the stop.

"We stayed here last year when it was free, and liked it, so came back," Mr Finnie said. "Paying the fee is not a problem.

"We've been looking around the shops, bought some warm clothes and spent about $150."


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