Alex Pilcher's accommodation and wedding/events businesses went from 'crazy hectic' to 'zero' overnight when the recent COVID lockdowns began.
"There was no in between," she said.
The owner of The White Place in Orange runs a bricks and mortar and online homewares store alongside her accommodation and weddings/events businesses, and says she was lucky her business is diverse. It meant she was able to focus on her retail store, website and social media presence in the interim.
Now, with restrictions lifting in NSW, she says things are looking up on all fronts.
"Bookings (for accommodation) in the last two weeks have come back very strong," Ms Pilcher said.
"Once the NSW Government started to put dates around when people could move again we've definitely seen an increase.
"Weekends are booked out for the rest of the year which is fantastic - and even into next year.
"Traditionally January and February were quite quiet in Orange from an accommodation perspective but we're seeing really strong bookings... which is great because we can see that people are coming and we know that town's going to be busy."
The wedding side of the business is back too, with bookings - many of which were postponed earlier in the year - right through to April.
Aaron Taylor of accommodation and events business Book Orange says he's seen a "massive increase" in bookings in recent days.
He said there had been concerns that Book Orange's first big event, the Pre-Loved Market in the south court of the city precinct November 21, would not be able to run, but with restrictions easing it was almost certain to go ahead.
He's also confident that Book Orange's "A Night in Nashville" country Music Festival will go ahead in December, with up to 800 people expected over two nights.
While the NSW Government's roadmap out of lockdown won't enable travel from Sydney to regional areas until the state hits 80 percent full vaccinated (a target expected to be reached later this month), travel between regional areas is back now that the 70 percent target has been met.
Mr Taylor says Sydney visitors are crucial to Orange, but he hopes to see the city's tourist base broaden with more regional visitors over the next 12 months.
"I think what's happening is a lot of people that would have been going to Sydney for their holiday... they're looking for other places to go.
"People from places like Newcastle and other rural areas.
"Hopefully now people from other parts of NSW are learning about Orange and what it has to offer as well...and hopefully moving forward in 12 months time our tourist base is going to be even bigger."
General Manger of Orange360 Caddie Marshall says she is confident tourism operators in Orange will bounce back quickly.
"After last year's lockdown we saw tourism boom in the region as those in Sydney packed up and headed West for a well deserved holiday.
"We are confident visitors from across the state will return again once regional travel is back on the cards and provide a much needed boost to those businesses that rely so heavily on visitors.
"Orange's tourism sector is crucial to the overall economy of the region, the visitor economy across the Orange360 network is worth close to $500m per annum and equates to 41 percent of the dollars spent in our region."
Mrs Pilcher from The White Place says she can't wait to have visitors back in the city.
"I know we all have to be cautious and, you know, do it in the right way, but if we all do it in the right way it's going to be great.
"Everyone's had a hard couple of years and it's just nice to be positive about it and push forward."
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