A record number of visitors entered the Orange Visitors Centre over the long weekend, more than double the number from last year.
Border closures and international travel bans due to COVID-19 have kept NSW visitors closer to home this year and Orange has been reaping the benefits, says Orange Mayor Reg Kidd.
“We are all looking forward to seeing the end of this dreadful pandemic and the terrible loss and financial hardship it has caused across the world.
“If there’s any good news to come out of it, it’s that more people have discovered why Orange is a wonderful place to visit, any time of year.
“Nearly every weekend, for months, accommodation in Orange has been booked out, restaurants have been enjoying full dining rooms, accounting for the reduced number of seating permitted, and our local shops have been cashing in on the increased number of people in the streets and outlying villages,” Cr Kidd said.
“Orange has not seen this many visitors before and I’m expecting the numbers from this school holiday period to far exceed the July school holiday numbers, which were in themselves far in excess of previous years.”
Over the long weekend, 2,736 people entered the visitors centre, the same period last year there were 1,333, a 105 per cent increase.
The October long weekend has always been a peak tourist period for Orange especially coupled with the Orange Wine Festival, which is traditionally run in October each year.
The festival was spread out over the whole month this year, with none of the larger signature events, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The average number of visitors per day, over the three days was 912.
The only single day, in the history of the visitors centre, which had more people through the door was the opening day of the first exhibition at the Orange Regional Museum, Paddock to Plate, when 1,315 people went through the doors.
Orange City Council’s Employment and Economic Development Committee Chair Cr Tony Mileto said the number of visitors was expected to remain high for the foreseeable future.
“We’re not experiencing peaks and troughs in the tourist numbers at the moment, they are consistently high every day of the week,” Cr Mileto said.
“Last month the visitors centre had 12,775 people through the doors, an increase of nearly 70 per cent from the same time period last year.
“We’re working with Orange360 on strategic marketing programs to ensure we take full advantage of this increase in tourism and ensure we convert these visitors into long-term tourists to the region.”