The anticipation is building around Dubbo as the city prepares to host its second ever NRL Premiership match on May 22, with local businesses already feeling the benefits.
Apex Oval will host the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canberra Raiders in just over one week's time, with the former's two-year deal with Dubbo coming to a close.
Unlike the match in 2021, there are no COVID-19 restrictions for the event and footy fans from all over are expected to travel to Dubbo to watch the game, with a crowd of more than 14,000 predicted.
Apart from the game, fans will also be able to take in all the attractions Dubbo has to offer, including Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the Old Dubbo Gaol and Wiradjuri Gardens.
Dubbo Regional Council manager of economic development and marketing Josie Howard believes the game will once again be a success after last years fixture bought more than $2 million to the local economy.
"Something really interesting is that we are seeing an uplift in the Sunday night bookings for accommodation," she said.
"So people are staying that night as well and getting a bit of an extra long weekend out of if it which is really good.
"It's mostly mainstream motels which are reaching that capacity at the moment so there are still some vacancies in your AirBnB's and economy sharing accommodation but the motels are getting a good hit."
While the match will take place during the school term, Ms Howard is confident tourists from all over will stay and experience what Dubbo has to offer them.
"People are getting a little more excited about going away and what we find is people are not planning too far out," she said.
"So we do expect in the next week to see an uplift again but in terms of things like the Great Big Adventure pass we've been pushing along with the footy, we've been pushing for people to stay and have an adventure as well as go to the footy.
"We've seen a huge uplift in April which did include Easter for that so what we hope is people are using the footy as an opportunity to stay a little longer."
While South Sydney will return for a second consecutive year, Canberra is a team who will be new to Dubbo but not the region after already playing in Mudgee earlier this season.
Ms Howard believes the Canberra fans should show up in full numbers after council's recent push to grow their brands in the nation's capital.
"Canberra is a relatively new market for us in terms of destination marketing so we started marketing there as part of the economic recovery strategy in the backend of 2020," she said.
"We have been getting some brand recognition into that market around the tourism operations in Dubbo and the experience in Dubbo.
"We've been marketing again to Canberra for this particular week post the game."
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