The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tour of Australia cost taxpayers almost $410,580 and Dubbo mayor Ben Shields considers it money well spent.
Prince Harry and wife Meghan paid a day visit to the regional city during their 16 days in Australia and the Pacific.
National and international media followed their progress from arrival at Dubbo City Regional Airport to multiple engagements, beaming coverage across the globe.
The total cost of the Australian visit, including an advance visit in August, was $410,579.96, a Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet spokesperson has now revealed.
International and domestic travel costs, including flights, accommodation, meals and incidentals accounted for the highest portion of the bill at $237,700.
There is no breakdown for the cost of each day.
Cr Shields said once you saw the economic interest the royal couple brought to Australia, particularly a place like Dubbo, it was "actually worth the money".
“So it does seem like a lot of money when you see the figures alone, but then when you put down all the extra economic activity that it brought, it’s well worth the spend,” he said.
“It would be very short-sighted for anyone to say the money isn’t well spent considering the amount of activity that was able to generate and the extra money that was put into the economy because of the visit.”
In the first weeks after the visit, data from booking website Wotif.com showed travel interest for Dubbo had surged, with searches on the site jumping by close to 15 per cent.
Four months on, the mayor said the city was “still reaping the benefits of the positive publicity Dubbo received during that visit”.
“Even right now we are seeing a spike in visitor numbers, which by all reports should be down because of the drought, we’re continuing to see a spike in visitor numbers because of the good reputation, the good image that was able to be portrayed right around the nation because of the visit of Harry and Meghan,” Cr Shields said.
Dubbo Chamber of Commerce president Matt Wright said Dubbo "got some massive bang for their buck" on a national and an international scale from the visit.
“Afterwards we saw some statistics from those large booking agencies that Dubbo was starting to rank a bit higher on their search lists," he said.
“...That’s been pretty positive and from what I understand that has translated into a bit of an increase to the numbers in the couple of months following the visit, so that was really positive.”
Mr Wright anticipated the royal visit could continue to stimulate the city’s economy.
He said Prince Harry’s speech “almost a read from a tourist brochure on the fantastic opportunities available when you come to Dubbo”.
“It was unbelievable and it was a really good sales pitch in itself,” he said.
The cost to taxpayers was less than for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's tour of Australia in 2014 and an advance trip for planning.
It tallied just under $474,137.
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