The Central West has become the 14th most sought after tourist destination in Australia

The Central West has become one of the most popular destinations in the country among domestic tourists.

Data released by Tourism Research Australia showed there was an increase of 13 per cent in total visitors’ nights in the region for the year ending September 2018 in Central NSW, which includes Bathurst, Orange, Forbes, Oberon, Blayney, Grenfell, Cowra, Cabonne, Lachlan and Parkes. 

Data further showed visitors spent a record $1.1 billion during their stay in the region – a 16 per cent increase on 2017.

The average expenditure per visitor per night also increased, growing from $139 to $142 in the space of 12 months.

Chair of Central NSW Cr John Medcalf said the region is punching above its weight. 

“It’s awesome news particularly when we are experiencing a drought,” Cr Medcalf said.

“I think it is also important to acknowledge the investment by the state government in tourism. The overall figures for NSW are also very strong.

“This region is punching above its weight,” he said.

“Our tourism managers are a passionate collaborative bunch and are currently working on some new and exciting regional projects which will no doubt increase further visitation to our area.”

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Caddie Marshall, general manager of Orange360, said the region has benefited because of an all-year-round approach to marketing and events such as the approaching Orange FOOD Week, Banjo Paterson Australian Poetry Festival, Bathurst Supercars Race and the Parkes Elvis Festival. 

“Our strength is in the diversity of our products,” Ms Marshall said.

“Our region benefits from four distinct seasons and we offer authentic experiences.

“When they [tourists] visit for the first time they are often delighted that we have got an awesome coffee culture. We have got wonderful boutique retail and a range of accommodations.”

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The report showed the Central West was the 14th most sought-after destination in the country, faring better than the Australian Capital Territory in terms of visitors’ nights and revenue expenditure.

Dubbo MP Troy Grant said the results are fantastic news for Central NSW.

“Our beautiful region welcomed 2.8 million domestic tourists and 40,900 international travellers, which is wonderful news for our local industry,” Mr Grant said.

“This means more heads on hotel beds, people in our restaurants, cafes, pubs and shops, spending money and driving our local visitor economy.”

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​Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said NSW is in a golden era.

“These impressive numbers are turbocharging our economy, generating jobs and driving investment in local communities as tourists yet again choose to visit NSW ahead of all other states,” Mr Marshall said.

“Internationally, NSW received 4.3 million visitors who stayed 95.5 million nights and spent $10.6 billion.

“Domestically, we welcomed 33.6 million overnight visitors who stayed 105.1 million nights and, for the first time ever, these visitors spent more than $20 billion.”

Top 15 tourist places in Australia

  1. Sydney
  2. Melbourne
  3. Brisbane
  4. North Coast NSW
  5. Experience Perth
  6. Gold Coast
  7. South Coast
  8. Sunshine Coast
  9. Hunter
  10. Tropical North Queensland
  11. Australia's South West
  12. Australia's North West
  13. Adelaide
  14. Central NSW
  15. Canberra
This story Good news for Central West businesses: Tourists spent $1.1b last year first appeared on Western Advocate.