The profound growth in tourists to Dubbo last year, as well as the money earned from those visitors, is a result of the State government and local stakeholders putting dollars and effort into promoting our region.
Over the years money has been wasted chasing the tourism buck with well-intentioned but non-cohesive campaigns.
For the first time that Mayor Ben Shields can remember, state and local campaigns have married well and caused a boon in visitor numbers.
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.
These numbers were calculated before the royal visit, so next years numbers should be even more impressive.
The growth in arrivals and the associated dollars is a definite improvement for the economy.
There is also an opportunity to do more to promote Dubbo as a tourist destination to other markets beyond the current focus on the Asian market.
“We’ve been doing a lot to promote Dubbo, particularly in Hong Kong,” NSW Tourism Minister Adam Marshall 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.”
What a brilliant move. But, there is even more significant potential going forward because the day of international free advertising the royal visit provided may encourage thousands of United Kingdom tourists to visit our region.
Dubbo Regional Council, local tourism operators and the State government (whatever stripe it will be after March) should strive to sustain the current momentum by keeping up the good work, but also by looking for new ways to bring more people to the region. They have the template right let’s hope a concerted, united effort results in Dubbo being the destination of choice for travellers who want to get out of the cities.
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