Corowa business owners say confusion over travel permits keeping Victorians out of NSW border town | Ralph-Lauren

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Business operators in Corowa on the NSW Victoria border say some Victorian holidaymakers are staying away from the NSW town despite it being declared a “green zone” by the Victorian Government.

The move to a “green zone” meant Victorians outside the NSW and Victorian “border bubble” could travel into NSW border towns, including Corowa, without having to get a COVID test on their return home.

Following the “green zone” announcement last Monday, Corowa Caravan Park owner Karen Dunstan had hoped more holidaymakers would be in the Murray River town this weekend ahead of Tuesday’s Australia Day public holiday.

But Ms Dunstan said many Victorian guests cancelled bookings because they were confused about interstate travel or weren’t keen on getting stuck away from home if further travel restrictions were announced.

She said the caravan park was usually fully booked over summer with most guests from Victoria.

The park has 125 camp sites with 20 cabins.

“This weekend the ten suite cabins are booked out, but the campsite is mostly empty,” she said.

Ms Dunstan said the past 12 months had been tough for businesses in Corowa with smoke from last year’s summer bushfires keeping holidaymakers away and then the coronavirus pandemic stopping guests from staying due to lockdowns and restrictions on travel.

Dean Druce centre of photo leans on old whiskey drums at the front of brick building
Managing Director of Corowa Whiskey and Chocolate Dean Druce says people are hesitant to visit Corowa.

Managing Director of Corowa Whiskey and Chocolate factory Dean Druce said the number of visitors to his business was “well down” on previous years.

“We are trading at about 10 per cent of what we usually do.

“Some people don’t want to travel (here) in case what they can and can’t do changes again.”

He said a “flood” of Victorians left the Murray River town on New Year’s Eve when restrictions on crossing the NSW and Victorian border were again tightened suddenly.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Mr Druce was hopeful holidaymakers would eventually make their way back to Corowa.

“We are happy to be here on the border and we love showcasing the border and I think it’s really important that people come and see our little patch of paradise.”

Karen Dunstan stans in from of a Corowa Caravan Park sign
Although cautious, Ms Dunstan is hopeful more holidaymakers will return to Corowa in coming months.(ABC Goulburn Murray: Allison Jess)

Ms Dunstan also remained cautious about the future but was hopeful her business would start to get back on track soon.

“Providing things go well, March is looking good in terms of bookings… It’s normally a good month for us and we are fully booked for Easter at this stage,” she said.

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