A scenic view of the Clarence River northeast from Gafton jusring the Jacaranda Festival is featured in a nSW Government video campaign aimed at the state’s residents who would normally travel overseas in a bid to kickstart domestic tourism as COVID-19 restrictions are eased..
A scenic view of the Clarence River northeast from Gafton jusring the Jacaranda Festival is featured in a nSW Government video campaign aimed at the state’s residents who would normally travel overseas in a bid to kickstart domestic tourism as COVID-19 restrictions are eased..

Clarence featured in NSW tourism ad to ‘holiday at home’

THE NSW Government has launched a major domestic tourism campaign to coincide with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and the Clarence Valley is front and centre.

It is estimated the state's residents normally spend $16 billion per year travelling overseas. With international and even some interstate destinations off limits indefintely, the advertising blitz is aimed at urging those planning a trip to "forget that overseas escape" and explore their own ­backyard.

The Now's The Time to Love NSW campaign includes a new television commercial telling holiday-makers: "So you can't travel the world right now, so what."

The 30-second clip features some of the state's most desirable destinations, including the Blue Mountains, ski fields, vineyards and Sydney Harbour. It also features a shot of a hot air balloon above the Clarence River at Grafton.

While it is anticipated the region will experience a surge in tourism over the coming days and into the June long weekend, Clarence Valley Council has been doing all it can to ensure it is on the radar for as many potential visitors as possible.

"We've been working with Destination NSW and Tourism Australia during the whole of the bumpy COVID-19 time," CVC marketing and brand officer Louise Gumb said.

"The main reason why they included the hot balloon ride over the Clarence during Jacaranda time in their promotional video is due to the relationship we have built with them over the last four years. These things don't just happen.

"We worked with Destination NSW and the videographer when this video was produced as a promotion for Grafton's  Jacaranda season."

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said with the travel and hospitality industry hardest hit by COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to travel around regional NSW.

"NSW residents took almost two million international leisure trips last year worth $16.7 billion, so there is a huge opportunity to entice our overseas holiday-makers to become NSW's next top travellers," Mr Ayres said.

"At the end of the day, the single biggest beneficiary is getting people back into work.

"The state has managed the COVID health crisis incredibly well - we have very low infection rates and we have very strong community and contact tracing available.

"I think we're ready for this. There's never ever going to be a zero-risk environment so it's about how we manage that risk."

The campaign will target NSW, Victoria and the ACT throughout June and July with plans to roll it out nationally when other states' border restrictions are lifted.

Initially created to help drought and bushfire-devastated communities but now rebooted for coronavirus, it includes new social media videos and a dedicated web page showing travellers how to make the most of the 213 days left in 2020.

In the past week, interest in NSW road trips has soared, with a 125 per cent increase in page views on the ­VisitNSW.com website.

"I think it's fair to say that cabin fever has truly taken hold of residents," Mr Ayres said.


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