AUGUST is just weeks away and that means one thing - Australia's biggest agricultural field day, AgQuip.
Gunnedah is busy preparing for its biggest week of the year with a renewed push for residents to host visitors for home stays to help boost accommodation options.
Gunnedah Shire Council's tourism team leader Nikki Robertson said a local program called Gunnedah Home Hosting coordinated by the Visitor Information Centre helps link visitors and exhibitors to accommodation providers.
Residents registered with Home Hosting provide comfortable 'home style' accommodation with a light breakfast for a minimum of two nights.
"The program was started by local lady Annette Gleeson. She started with calling on friends to offer accommodation during AgQuip and it grew from there. Council has been involved since the late 80s," Ms Robertson said.
"The program has been very successful in connecting visitors with accommodation options during this peak time, helping to complement the existing accommodation providers here in Gunnedah."
She said between 60 to 70 companies have used the service in the past, but this number has decreased in the past few years as friendships have been formed and the customers have booked directly with the hosts.
"So far we have had confirmation from six hosts and are hoping to receive further expressions of interest," she added.
COVID-19 is front of mind and we will be working collaboratively with our hosts and monitoring updates from NSW Health to ensure this is facilitated safely and in line with public health orders, she said.
With every accommodation option locally booked out during AgQuip, the program is a way to keep vital tourism dollars in town.
"It is such a large event and in previous years people have been staying as far away as Scone and Armidale," Ms Robertson said.
"We need to make sure we have as much accommodation on offer to ensure that Gunnedah makes the most of this premier event."
Hosts provide each guest with a bed fitted with fresh linen, clean blankets and 2 pillows; a bed side table and lamp; a place for guests to hang and store clothing and personal items; fresh towels; a spare blanket on the foot of the bed; and a light breakfast each morning.
For more information and to register your interest contact Gunnedah Visitor Information Centre on 6740 2230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The AgQuip Field Days run from August 17 to 19.
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