"We love the people, but that's not the reason we came here."
As tourist bodies await calls on the reopening of region-to-region tourism, there is optimism that an untapped market could be a key driver in the return of the industry.
"In this scenario the region would suffer a tragic loss of life."critically ill," Tamworth Regional Council acting director of growth and prosperity Anna Russell said.
Discovered any hidden gems lately? Small but stunning towns in the Tamworth region are welcoming people looking to take trips a little closer to home.
The $9-million sanctuary at Anna Bay, which is due to open within a few months, will rely on koalas bringing in visitors, and the visitors bringing in money to help care for the koalas.