WHAT'S ON

We want you back campaign aims to boost central west travel

Support local: Tom Ward (pictured) is the owner and winemaker at Swinging Bridge Wines. Photo: Supplied
Support local: Tom Ward (pictured) is the owner and winemaker at Swinging Bridge Wines. Photo: Supplied

With COVID-19 restrictions being eased across NSW, a new campaign is aiming to help promote travel to the central west region.

The 'We want you back' $30,000 tourism campaign is a partnership between 10 Local Government Areas, plus Orange360 and the Central NSW Joint Organisation.

It features a range of local heroes from Orange, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Bathurst, Oberon, Forbes, Lachlan, Weddin and Parkes.

Central NSW Joint Organisation executive officer Jenny Bennett said the aim of the campaign is to create a connection between locals and travellers to help stimulate the economy.

"Friends and family will be some of the first to visit as they seek to spend time with loved ones and travel to a safe, familiar place, Ms Bennett said.

"We need to make sure our region is at the top of everybody's must-visit list once they can travel to regional NSW again."

To align with the NSW Premier announcing easing travelling restrictions a series of video interviews, stills and beautiful imagery will be rolled out from June, 1.

One of the local producers telling their story is Tom Ward at Swinging Bridge Wines from the Canowindra/Orange region.

The winemaker said he was looking forward to telling the story of Swinging Bridge Wines once they are able to reopen the restaurant and cellar door.

"We've obviously closed up, respected the rules and tried to do our best but once regional travel reopens we've got a great opportunity to showcase what Orange is doing," Mr Ward explained.

The Swinging Bridge Wine owner was looking forward to getting back to the face-to-face aspect of their business and seeing their customers again.

"That's an important part of any wine business and we really miss seeing tourists come out here...," Mr Ward said

With June 1, just around the corner, the Orange winemaker said he it was nice to know there is an end in sight to the COVID-19 restrictions, adding that now is the perfect time to visit.

The Ward family have been farming in the Canowindra/Orange area for five generations and have been making wine for 25 years.

Mr Ward remains optimistic about the future, explaining that everyone at Swinging Bridge Wines were enthusiastic about reopening.

"I think a lot of people are going to want to get out of the urban areas and into the open, country area and we're excited about welcoming them back," he said.

Mr Ward said it has been really tough for central west businesses, who have not only had to endure being impacted by COVID-19, but the drought too.

"It's been tough for people and tough for a lot of businesses but we've all got to work together...," he said.

Carcoar's Belinda Satterthwaite runs homewares store, Tomolly and also features in the campaign.

She opened the shop in Carcoar over two years ago, after relocating from Millthorpe. When the COVID-19 restrictions were in full force, Ms Satterthwaite decided to close the physical shop, but it allowed her to focus more on its online store.

While Tomolly's online store had been open since last year, it was something Ms Satterthwaite hadn't pushed or promoted, but she now had more time to work on it.

In the time during the shop's closure due to COVID-19, Ms Satterthwaite was not only able to upload more products, but she started a newsletter and online course. She has been kept busy sending out products to her loyal social media followers purchasing orders.

The Tomolly store physically reopened about three weeks ago and the owner said she received much support from locals.

Ms Satterthwaite said it is great being a part of the 'We want you back' campaign now that Tomolly store has reopened.

"It's great that the region has come together (for the campaign)... it may prompt those further afield... to come for a day trip or weekend," she said.

The Carcoar businesswoman hopes with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions allowing regional travel from June, 1 that tourists can make their way back to the region again.

"If people can get through this period, tourism will be great in our region once we can get back to moving around," Ms Satterthwaite said