Plan ahead, prebook, slow down and prepare for change.
That is how visitors to the Blue Mountains can get the most out of their post-lockdown getaway when the region reopens.
As one of the most popular destinations close to Sydney, the region is preparing for a massive surge in visitors once restrictions are lifted.
Blue Mountains Tourism president Jason Cronshaw said tourism businesses were excited to welcome visitors back after the long hiatus.
``It’s been very quiet here,’’ he said.
``After more than a hundred years of visitors on our bush tracks, in our supermarkets and cafes, it’s been very odd for residents and businesses.
``But everything’s still here – all the incredible landscapes, the fantastic experiences and the great food and wine, the charming guesthouses and grand hotels.
``In fact, they’re probably even better because everyone has used the lockdown to mousse and spruce their properties, develop new menus and create new experiences.’’
Mr Cronshaw encouraged visitors to:
- Plan ahead: Research your getaway and create an itinerary, noting the best times to visit attractions
- Prebook: Ensure your bed, table or spot in the queue by booking online direct with the business. Prebooking will also ensure the dish you crave and help you jump the queue.
- Consider travelling by train or outside of popular times to avoid traffic congestion
- Consider visiting midweek and dining earlier
- Slow down: QR check-ins are here to stay – be patient and take in the scenery
- Prepare for change: new Covid restrictions may mean changes in processes etc
``As one of the closest destinations to Sydney and a traditional getaway location, the Blue Mountains is gearing up to receive a significant surge in visitors once lockdown restrictions are lifted,’’ Mr Cronshaw said.
``We do welcome everyone but it’s best for everybody if we all plan your visit.
``This is a new world for us as well as our guests, and no one will know exactly how things will pan out until the reality becomes clear.’’
While a firm date had not been set, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said restrictions would be lifted when 70 per cent of the population had been double vaccinated, expected to be around mid-October.
Equeva Group director Aviad Panta said he and his team had prepared for the return of guests to The Metropole, Blue Mountains Heritage Motel, Echo Point Discover Motel, Katoomba Town Centre Motel and Blue Lyrebird Co-Living Blue Mountains by spring cleaning, carrying out maintenance and training.
They also had new Fresh Air Packages for visitors to enjoy the clean mountain air.
With more than 180 rooms, the largest 3.5-star accommodation provider in the region hosted 120,000 visitors pre-Covid.
While ``we are still learning to navigate this new way of life and business like everyone else’’ Mr Panta said the Blue Mountains eagerly awaited the return of visitors.
``We are COVID safe and ready to welcome guests. Our friendly team is looking forward to getting back to work.’’
Mr Cronshaw welcomed travel keen Sydneysiders to the Blue Mountains.
``We are blessed to have been locked down in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area for three months surrounded by wilderness and fresh air, with 140km of bushwalking tracks and most of us living in freestanding homes with large yards and regular encounters with native animals.
``Come up and join us.’’