Tourists preferred the Central West over Canberra last year

Central NSW has emerged as one of the most-sought after locations among domestic and international tourists, new data reveals.

The latest data from Tourism Research Australia showed that more tourists stayed overnight in the Central NSW, which includes the Bathurst, Orange, Forbes, Oberon, Blayney, Grenfell, Cowra, Cabonne, Lachlan and Parkes local government areas, last year.

The number of visitors nights in the region grew from 6.35 million by end of June 2017 to 7.98 million by end of June 2018 –  an increase of 25.5 per cent.

Bathurst Councillor Monica Morse said people with less disposable income are mostly travelling to the Central West rather than Sydney or Wollongong.

“They [tourists] are looking for exciting and interesting holidays that are not so expensive. We have lots of attractions and museums which can be visited for less money,” Cr Morse said.

“People from Sydney like to get out to the country. People have been encouraged because of the drought to travel and support farmers,” she said. 

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Central NSW also performed better than the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), another major inland tourist destination in the country.

The number of visitors nights for the ACT grew from 6.7 million to 7.1 million by end of June 2017 to 7.98 million by end of June 2018 

A spokesperson at Centroc, a voluntary collaboration of councils in the Central NSW, said the increase was due to a growing list of events across the region.

“Destination NSW reported holidays were the largest purpose of visit for international overnight visitors to the region, followed by visiting friends and relatives,” the spokesperson said.

“The increase in business reasons for visiting the region grew by 34.2 per cent. The largest age group of (domestic and overnight) visitors to the region was the 15 – 29 year old age bracket.”

Orange-based winegrower Ian Davison said the increase in tourists was certainly pleasing. 

“More tourists mean more money and jobs,” Mr Davison said.

“The increase was because of a combination of many things. The Bathurst car races, Orange Food Week, and Parkes Elvis Festival are some of the major features of our region. The increase has been been a gradual build-up.”

“It would be good if we have some more hotels here. That comes with more money. It is like a chicken and egg situation,” he said. 

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Data showed that more visitors resulted in more employment in the region.

A total of 2929 people were employed in the tourism industry last year compared with 2898 the year before.

This story Major boost to local industry: more tourists are arriving in Central West first appeared on Western Advocate.