Footy, food and Forest Reefs attract long weekend visitors | Photos

BUSINESS owners reaped the benefit of a flood of visitors on the long weekend, according to Orange’s chief tourism promoter.

General manager of Orange Region Tourism Caddie Marshall said the number of out-of-towners who stopped at the Orange Visitor Information Centre was hundreds more than the corresponding weekend last year.

From there, the visitors spread themselves and their money across the region.

“Historically, Orange and surrounding villages see a boost in tourism over the June long weekend,” Ms Marshall said.

“It’s actually one of the busiest weekends of the year.

“The weather definitely put on a show, with mild temperatures perfect for visitors.”

A mixture of ongoing attractions and one-off events proved popular with people from Sydney, the coast and interstate, Ms Marshall said.

More than 500 people visited the Paddock to Plate exhibition at Orange Regional Museum over the course of the three days, while there were reports from cellar doors of strong tourist numbers, with one stating they had upwards of 100 guests before lunch on Sunday.

There were also 16 teams competing at the NSW Rugby under 14s state championships at Endeavour Oval, each bringing with them a large compliment of players, coaches and supporters in need of accommodation, meals and entertainment during their stay.

“The rugby definitely bought more people to town and we hope that they discovered something new about our region that will bring them back again soon,” said Ms Marshall.

“I have already heard that many hotels were booked out, local cellar doors, cafes, and restaurants were at capacity and generally the villages were packed with people and car parks full.”

The boon was not limited to Orange’s business owners, with the surrounding villages also attracting their fair share of guests.

There were also between 350 and 400 people at Sunday’s camp oven cook-off at the Forest Reefs Tavern, more than any of the previous eight editions.

Further afield the Age of Fishes Museum in Canowindra – representative of the Visitor Information Centre for the Cabonne Shire – saw an increase of approximately 5 per cent in visitor walk-ins from 2017.

“Numbers almost doubled compared to normal periods over the long weekend as visitors took advantage of the holiday period to go for a long country drive to explore our region,” Ms Marshall said.

“This is all great news for our region.”

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