Opening only a few months before a global pandemic sent the world into lockdown hasn't stopped this unique tourist attraction from rising to the top.
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The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Visitor Experience Centre in Dubbo opened its doors in October 2019, right before COVID-19 sent the world into shutdown.
But the centre weathered the restrictions and is now recognised as among the city's best attractions.
"It was a very tough time to open the doors and get awareness and let people know that we're out there," Michelle Wishart, visitor experience services manager at the RFDS, said.
"So to see schools, to see tour buses, to see car clubs, to see groups, to see grey nomads and families coming back out to Dubbo... is really, really satisfying."
The RFDS Visitor Experience Centre was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Visitor Experience award at the Dubbo Business Chamber's 2023 awards night on Friday, October 20.
The award recognises a business that understands the importance of visitor engagement for a region's economy and reputation. Other finalists for the category in 2023 included the Old Dubbo Gaol and Itty Bitty Spa and Beauty.
Ms Wishart said being recognised for the award after such a short time in business was an honour.
"For the Royal Flying Doctors to have that sort of recognition after we've only had our centre open since 2019...we're absolutely thrilled," she said.
"It was always a goal of ours when the centre opened to grow and develop as a tourist destination and be a part of that great big adventure pass as well.
"So we're really thrilled to be acknowledged for the centre and the work we do and we just hope that we can continue to provide a really great place for families and friends to visit."
The RFDS Visitor Experience Centre centre is the first of its kind in Australia, featuring a unique cinematic experience, augmented reality and the opportunity to explore the fuselage of a Royal Flying Doctor Service plane.
Ms Wishart said she encourages locals who haven't visited the centre to come along and check it out, with 25 per cent of all proceeds going directly towards the RFDS's work.
"We've got a fantastic in-house cafe, the Outback Trek Cafe, a huge merchandise area and a really relaxed interactive experience where people can come and they can bring the family," she said.
"Visitors of all ages can have a look through all of the interactive technology and learn along the way about the Royal Doctor service and what we do.
"We hope that we can continue to offer something different and continue to grow and develop and be a sought after destination for anyone that visits Dubbo."
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