A fresh bid to entice visitors to regional areas is encouraging corporate Australia to pack an overnight bag and start exploring.
Stay in the Bush, the sister page of the Buy from the Bush phenomenon, is calling on metro employers to give staff a long weekend so they can head off the beaten track and stimulate economies.
Movement founder Grace Brennan said it would be a practical way corporate Australia could support small business in regional areas dealing with the triple blows of drought, fires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The invitation comes as NSW lifts restrictions on regional travel which have been in place since late March.
The call to corporates to give staff "bush leave" went out to the more than 230,000 followers of Buy from the Bush on Instagram.
A Stay in the Bush website was launched on Friday.
Mrs Brennan said the easing of travel restrictions presented a unique opportunity for rural communities to capture new tourist markets.
"Stay in the Bush offers a directory of some of the best bush stays and aims to inspire people in the city, who are most likely aching to escape the confines of isolation, to explore holiday destinations off the beaten track," she said.
"We have seen the commercial appeal of the bush celebrated through #buyfromthebush. There is huge appeal among people in the city to feel connected to rural communities and #stayinthebush offers an even greater chance at connection."
Buy from the Bush proved to be the salvation of many bush stores at Christmas as orders from metro shoppers flooded in.
Mrs Brennan said bush visits could also have significant benefits.
"...income generation, job creation, greater opportunity for diversification and the psychological benefits of knowing they offer value to people in the city," she said.
"The more people visit our rural communities, the more they are likely to care about them."
The rural champion said Stay in the Bush was gathering more than 100 followers a day.
"We are hearing from featured businesses that they are increasing their social following by 100-500 following a post on our page and receiving multiple bookings directly as a result," Mrs Brennan said.
"We are hearing from lots of keen travellers asking for suggestions on places to stay when they hit the road.
"There is a feeling that we are on the cusp of a very special time for rural Australia."
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