Dubbo enjoyed a more than 14 per cent increase in international and domestic overnight visitors in 2018 with tourists injecting an incredible $249 million into local hotels, shops and tourist attractions.
Dubbo and surrounds welcomed 704,500 visitors up to September 2018, of these, 11,500 were international travellers, up 9.5 per cent compared to the previous year.
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said a partnership with Cathay Pacific has proved fruitful for Dubbo tourism.
“We’ve been doing a lot to promote Dubbo, particularly in Hong Kong, where we’ve had outdoor advertising wrapped around the city’s buses and trams, and newspaper and magazine advertisements promoting Dubbo travel packages, so it’s great to see international tourism growing,” he said.
“Last year, working with Cathay Pacific, the NSW Government supported a familiarisation visit for a group of Hong Kong travel agents to Dubbo, who experienced the region first-hand, exploring attractions like Taronga Western Plains Zoo and some of the best boutique luxury accommodation in the area, helping them to promote and sell Country NSW to their clients back home.
“Hong Kong is a priority growth market for our State’s tourism industry and we know this market loves the fresh air, beautiful landscapes, delicious produce and attractions on offer in Dubbo and the surrounding region.”
Mr Marshall said actively promoting Dubbo domestically has also paid off.
“Dubbo recently featured on Channel Seven’s popular travel show Sydney Weekender, and regional conferencing is another way that we’re driving visitors to the area,” he said.
“We’re doing more to entice conference organisers to think of Dubbo when planning their business event.
“The Dubbo Regional Convention Centre offers fantastic facilities, and visitor attractions like the Dubbo Regional Art Gallery and Old Dubbo Gaol also benefit from this type of activity as venues for off-site delegate networking events, which get conference attendees exploring and experiencing more of Dubbo while they’re visiting on business.
“Our investment in this sector is so important because we know that overnight business visitors spend, on average, $237 per night in NSW – nearly double those of overnight leisure visitors. They are also more likely to return for a future holiday with family or friends.”
Mayor happy with numbers
Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields has welcomed figures that show a massive increase in tourist visits to Dubbo for 2018.
“I think it is because both the State government and local stakeholders have finally got the formula right when it comes to Dubbo,” he said.
“Local campaigns like ‘Ignite’ work and when the NSW government works with them, that encourages tourists to visit us.
“We now have a strong CBD and retail sector and that leads to a strong tourism sector. It is fantastic to see the combination of state and local stakeholders getting the tourism promotion mix right.”
Cr Shields noted the figures did not include the royal visit.
“It is interesting to note that our figures have gone up even before the royal visit,” he said.
“When you put the international coverage we received via the royal visit I am sure we will see an even bigger increase next year.
“The fantastic thing about these tourism numbers is they help offset our drought decline.
“We need to get our coins from somewhere, a lot of farmers don’t have the money to spend in town, so if we can offset that with money coming from the tourism sector than that augurs well for our future and keeps Dubbo’s economy ticking over.”