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Why you should take your next holiday in a drought-affected town

Lauren Pezet, Verity Gorman and Moyra Shields, Monday August 20, 2018 - 08:19 EST
Audience submitted image
The sun shines down on Booligal in mid-western New South Wales. - Audience submitted

Drought-affected towns are encouraging people to support their communities by taking their next holiday in the country.

and small towns are taking a hit economically.

Alison McLean from initiative in mid-western NSW said that having visitors in a drought is a great support for small business.

"The best thing that you can do is come and visit us," she said.

"Come and meet these real people that are glad to see you in their towns.

"Buy a coffee, refuel, stay the night, go to the supermarket, because that is a really tangible way of helping all the people in our community."

It is not just all about business either, Ms McLean said that tourism also provided a boost for town morale

"What we've found with The Long Paddock is that it creates a real sense of pride in our community, that we have this amazing history that we have these great tourism attractions that we have these great places to stay and amazing natural landscape to enjoy," she said.

"So it does create an economic boost through tourists visiting but it also creates a great community feeling that says that someone else thinks it's great as well."

Ms McLean said that visiting during a drought is just as much of an experience as it is in the good times.

"You only really appreciate how amazing this country is when you have seen the dry times and are able to come back again and see how it responds when the rain does eventually come," she said.

"And the spirit of these country towns is what shines through.

"It still exists when you walk down the street and everyone says hello to you, whether you're new to town or have been there for generations — and that is what the heart and soul of tourism in these areas."

Seasoned caravanner Jim Davey from Gawler in South Australia said that despite the dry times there was still plenty to see.

"Everybody is very welcoming and we try to support them because we did have a small general store in mid-north South Australia so we know what it's like to get some traffic off the road, it helps," he said.

"Wherever possible, we like to support the smaller places rather than the you-beaut big places — they wouldn't miss a hundred dollars from us, but for a small town that's a lot of money for store keepers."

Brendan McDowell from Bungendore near Canberra is travelling across to Broken Hill and down to Mildura and said it was fascinating to see the countryside.

"Go do it, go see it, it's part of the country as a land of flooding rain or searing drought," he said.

"Part of it is seeing the country in all its states, and it's a great boost for the towns that are suffering to have the tourist dollars come in."

Bill Kerry from Melbourne travels through the outback regularly and says the land is in a terrible state.

"It's sad to see the empty shops in these towns and I think travellers as we are spending money wherever we go, it's got to be helping the economy of the little towns and the bigger ones as we go through them," he said.

"It's a shame we can't do more for them."


© ABC 2018

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