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Mass exodus of Victorians creates opportunity for regional NSW, ACT and border bubbles

For the second summer in a row, the Sapphire Coast witnessed a rapid, mass exodus of tourists over our busiest period. Amanda Heather of Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing said of the exodus "Last summer it was the devastating bushfires; this time around, tens of thousands of Victorians – around 80% of our visitors – were forced to flee south or face being locked out of their home state. "As is the way with the good people of the Sapphire Coast, we’ve found a silver lining in amongst the chaos. Put simply, our beautiful, untouched paradise hasn’t gone anywhere even though the crowds have. That’s good news for residents of Canberra, regional NSW or anyone within the border bubble, given they can now experience the region’s offerings with significantly more elbow room. "With no crowds, no queues, and long white beaches almost all to yourself, visitors will quickly appreciate why the locals wouldn’t live anywhere else. "The Sapphire Coast’s tourism operators are encouraging visitors from these areas to take advantage of this rare opportunity to experience life as a laid-back local, in turn helping a community get through two years of unprecedented hardship. Bega Valley Shire Mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick, said this represents a significant opportunity for those who can still travel to the Sapphire Coast. “There may never be another time when you can enjoy a quintessential Sapphire Coast summer, just like a local but minus the crowds,” Cr Fitzpatrick said. “Beautiful weather, pristine water, deserted beaches, an abundance of oysters, plenty of parking, amazing accommodation and locals who are thrilled to see you – the list of reasons to visit goes on and on.” Big 4 Tathra owner Greg McKay said it was a heartbreaking start to the year with such a huge financial hit. “80% of the park upped and rushed home on New Year’s Eve. The next day had an eerily similar feel to last year when bushfires ended our season before it even started. Looking around now, I just can’t believe this place is not buzzing as usual.” The way the locals see it, whether it’s for two days or two weeks, there’s never been a better time for our regional NSW, ACT and Vic border friends to visit the magnificent Sapphire Coast and discover their very own silver lining. To see all that’s on offer, visit www.sapphirecoast.com.au Sapphire Coast Destination Marketing strongly advises all residents and visitors to keep up to date with the latest information on travel restrictions and COVID-19 before planning a trip. The most up to date information can be found at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/travel-restrictions-new-south-wales#border-communities, NSW Health and ACT Government.

Blue Pool Bermagui @davey_rogers

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