MORE than half of the people booking tickets for ice skating at the Bathurst Winter Festival are from outside of the city.
Preparations for the winter festival are in full swing, with Bathurst Regional Council announcing the program and start of ticket sales two weeks ago.
The ice rink continues to be one of the most popular attractions of the festival, with mayor Bobby Bourke saying people were keen to purchase tickets ahead of the June 26 start date.
"Tickets are selling every day, with almost 1,000 in the first week of sales," he said.
"Early data is showing 51 per cent of ticket sales are being purchased by people outside of our region."
The data is very similar to what was seen in 2019, the last time the festival was held at full capacity without restrictions.
That year, 58 per cent of the ticket sales for the ice rink were purchased from people outside of the 2795 postcode.
Council is always looking to grow the festival and attract more tourists to the region, with a particular focus on increasing overnight stays.
Cr Bourke said council will be doing plenty of marketing in the lead up to the festival to appeal to people both in and outside of Bathurst.
"A well developed marketing plan is promoting the festival through radio, print and digital advertising campaigns," he said.
"The event is also hugely supported by the NSW Government, so expect to see the winter festival featuring on a variety of platforms over the next month."
The winter festival is set to make a big comeback after a difficult year in 2020, which saw significant changes to the format to comply with COVID-19 health orders.
Council acknowledges that there is still a risk and will be taking measures over the course of the two-week event to ensure safety.
This is particularly important for the ice rink, as it is an attraction that will be available every day of the festival.
Cr Bourke said that session times have been decreased by five minutes to allow for additional cleaning between sessions.
There won't be a café or kids play equipment in the marquee this year to reduce the amount of people in the area, and people will be required to check in with the QR code as the enter the ice rink premises.
"Council is working with the ice rink provider to follow their COVID-safe measures," Cr Bourke said.
Tickets for the ice rink are on sale via the winter festival website, with prices ranging between $8 and $12.
Skating aides are available for inexperienced skaters.
The website also has information about the festival's other attractions, including Brew and Bite nights and the illuminations.
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