BATHURST and the other towns and cities of this region face a tricky balancing act as they attempt to reassure uncertain visitors during this summer of bushfires.
They don't want to appear to be callously trying to say that the Central West is much better off than other areas that have been ravaged by the blazes.
Nor, in promoting the appeal of a holiday in this region, do they want to look to be drawing visitors away from more traditional summer holiday spots along the South Coast that have been brought to their knees by the fires.
The danger in Bathurst saying the worst of the effects on this city and the roads that lead to it is over is that it might come across as boastful or insensitive as the crisis remains in full swing elsewhere.
But it's a balance that will have to be attempted because tourism in this region cannot be allowed to slow dramatically without a fight - there are simply too many jobs and businesses that rely on it.
Bathurst Regional Council tourism and visitor services manager Daniel Cove outlined the challenge this week when he told the Western Advocate that foot traffic in the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre was down 35.4 per cent between Boxing Day and New Year's Day - and visitors continue to ring the centre to ask about the air quality, the roads and whether there are nearby fires burning.
"Anecdotally, a number of businesses, though not all, are reporting reduced trade and occupancy," he said.
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Bathurst has been fortunate in escaping the worst of the blazes this summer, but that's what it has been - fortune.
We should recognise that things could have been a lot worse in our backyard after such a long period without rain and record-breaking heatwaves in December and January.
But we can recognise that, and explain to visitors that the region remains open and welcoming, without being too self-flagellating or mercenary.
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We can do what we can to protect our accommodation and hospitality sector without being seen as trying to cannibalise the same sectors in other parts of the state.
It's not easy. But it's a matter of tone and intent.
Jobs at Bathurst's accommodation providers, its tourist attractions and its CBD cafes, restaurants and hotels are reliant on us getting that tone right.