Central Victorians will be able to travel across the state from Wednesday as Victoria enjoys fewer coronavirus restrictions.
Tourism operators have welcomed the easing of lockdown rules despite people only able to book accommodation with their household, intimate partner or single bubble person.
Bendigo Motel Association president and Julie-Anna Inn owner Kristyn Slattery said Premier Daniel Andrews' announcement on Tuesday was better than expected.
"I don't think the announcements will deter people from travelling but I don't think they will encourage a mass exodus from one town to another," she said.
"We've had three bookings in the past couple of hours since the announcement and every time we exit lockdown it takes time for confidence to bounce back and people to understand where they can and can't go.
"People have to lay their plans and finance on the line yet again and that makes people nervous.
We'd love to see restrictions ease further to encourage more people to travel further but this is better than what we were expecting based off other lockdowns.Kristyn Slattery
In the Premier's announcement on Tuesday, private gatherings in people's homes were not permitted due to the significant transmission risk as seen throughout the pandemic.
While many people's hopes of travelling to visit friends and families in their homes were dashed, Ms Slattery is hopeful people will instead stay with accommodation providers and go out to reconnect with their loved ones.
"We often see Bendigo having a large tourism demographic of people visiting friends and families and the fact they can't stay with loved ones means we might be able to benefit off that," she said.
"There's been lots of ups and downs through the pandemic but we try our best to focus on positives and work with that to our advantage.
"We're definitely calling on our locals to invite their friends here, explore their own backyard, go out for dinner to catch up and support our local eateries."
Ms Slattery is advocating for people to call tourism operators directly to book their accommodation and leisure activities to ensure their money is kept locally.
"That's an important message for our sector - booking direct with a motel or hotel," she said. "In most cases it will give the traveller most flexibility and keep money local.
"Hopefully people will move around quickly within the rules and keep their money local."
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