BENDIGO'S business operators believe bushfires in other parts of the state might have driven visitors to the region this month.
But some said people were reluctant to travel on total fire ban and code red days, affecting visitor numbers.
Bushfires ripped through much of eastern Victoria in early January, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of tourists. It followed ongoing bushfires, which have destroyed hundreds of homes in NSW.
Bendigo Motels Association president Charlie Loftus said it was hard to gauge whether more people had visited the city to escape bushfires, with January basically on par with those previously.
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Mr Loftus said if anything people had been wary to travel on days with high fire warnings.
But Mr Loftus said the ATP Challenger tournament which was moved to Bendigo to escape Canberra's thick bushfire smoke was an example of the city benefiting from others' misfortune.
If bushfire seasons did worsen, Mr Loftus said it could work out in Bendigo's benefit, with a very safe road from Melbourne.
Experts have warned fire seasons across Australia, including central Victoria, are likely to become more intense.
He said people might be more wary of travelling to high risk areas like the Great Ocean Road and the high country in January and February.
Bendigo Tourism Chair Finn Vedelsby said tourism had been fantastic this January, with strong local and interstate visitation.
Mr Vedelsby said it was sad, but Bendigo seemed to have had an influx during January as people cancelled plans to visit Bright and Victoria's east.
He said the city had been a bit of a safe haven, mentioning the ATP Challenger tennis.
"Bendigo is now on the world map, we were a logical and first choice for tennis Australia to bring it here, because our facilities in Bendigo are state of the art," Mr Vedelsby said.
"The accommodation in Bendigo can easily accommodate these international superstars, and upcoming superstars, and the direct flight from Sydney through Qantas link."
Mr Vedelsby said he had seen an increase in international visitation this year and more people staying overnight at his business the Dispensary.
He said the filming of an international film in Bendigo showed the long-term picture was really looking up for tourism in the city.
Mr Vedelsby said he hoped January would continue to be a peak time for tourism, despite rising bushfire risk.
He said bushfires could be frightening for international and local tourists.
"I hope that this is a one in 100 year experience, and we manage our bush more cleverly from this lesson learnt, and therefore people will feel safe in the future," he said.
At Bendigo Pottery co-owner Sally Thomson said January programs were booked out, but numbers were on par with previous years.
Mrs Thomson said drought and bushfires had probably more affected international tourism than domestic.
She said it hadn't had a huge economic effect yet, but might in the future.
But domestically Mrs Thomson said she though January tourism would remain steady, with people developing plans around fire.
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