With regional travel allowed from June 1, Dubbo will once again open its doors to visitors from around NSW
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Wednesday morning recreational regional travel within the state would be allowed before the June Long Weekend.
It's a move that has been welcomed by leaders within the community.
"Our business community has been doing it tough for some time due to drought, bushfires and the pandemic. The opening of the regions will help kick start our economic recovery and will be a huge boost for Western NSW," Western NSW Business NSW Regional Manager Vicki Seccombe said.
With almost 8000 jobs lost across Western NSW since the start of the pandemic, Ms Seccombe said the re-opening would be a boost to businesses who could then start employing people again.
Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields has also applauded the news, saying it was 'excellent'.
"The only proviso I have had is that this be on the recommendation of the state health officials, and now that box has been ticked I am keen to get Dubbo back open again," Cr Shields said.
The Easter long weekend is usually one of the biggest weekends for visitors to Dubbo, yet with the lockdown in full force this year, people were unable to travel and Dubbo missed out on the economic boost it would normally receive.
Now, with interstate trips still off limits at this time, Cr Shields said Dubbo would welcome those looking to travel.
"The motels and cafes are keen to get their employees working again, and I am certainly keen to have Dubbo lead the economic recovery for NSW.
"We can show the rest of the country how you recover."
Ms Seccombe said Western NSW had 'powerhouse offerings when it came to regional experience'.
"A strong food and wine scene, the country and outback, star gazing, gold and opal mining, cultural and indigenous tours, national parks and of course, the Western Plains Zoo," she said.
"Whilst there are still a number of restrictions in place for many of our hospitality businesses, we expect these to ease and we urge the NSW Government to ease restrictions in line with welcoming visitors to regional NSW."
"Businesses and local tourism operators have been working hard to ensure all the necessary precautions are in place to welcome tourists back safely and we urge visitors to take extra care when visiting Western NSW."
With tourism making a significant contribution to the Dubbo community of over $300 million each year, Taronga Western Plains Zoo director Steve Hinks also welcomed the safe return of regional tourism to the region.
"The zoo welcomes the news that regional tourism will be returning to areas such as Dubbo.
"We look forward to welcoming guests back to Taronga Western Plains Zoo as soon as possible to visit the amazing animals in our care and stay at our variety of accommodation offerings."
Preparations are underway to ensure the zoo is ready to reopen safely when it is permitted to do so.
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