Regional NSW is back open for travel from June 1, but with a 10 person limit still in place for public gatherings and hospitality venues, it's difficult to know whether booking a holiday for the Queens Birthday long weekend is a good idea.
On Wednesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed recreational regional travel will be allowed within a fortnight, but warned would be travellers to take caution.
"You can go on a holiday with your family and friends, but know the holiday you're taking ... will be different to a holiday you have taken before," she said. "We want people to enjoy themselves and feel free but please know that nothing we do is the same in a pandemic."
Similarly, Illawarra and South Coast tourism leaders have advised that there's still a long way to go before things get back to normal.
"The lifting of the travel ban now means people can go to the South Coast and other parts of NSW which were so badly hit thought the bushfires and then COVID, so of course that has to support some of the small businesses," Destination Wollongong boss Mark Sleigh said.
"But it's so important that the community continues to respect the social distancing, hygiene practises and not going out anywhere if they are sick, so that by the end of the year we can get all tourism operators back."
"I think what we really want to see is that come October and the summer season, there will be the maximum opportunity to be able to benefit, perhaps which no restrictions on patrons."
There have been mixed sentiments from the hard hit communities on the South Coast, who are both crying out for visitors after a horror year but also wary of welcoming visitors from areas with a higher number of COVD-19 cases.
Eurobodalla Shire Council, which covers holiday spots from north of Batemans Bay to south of Narooma, said it would be encouraging visitors to return gradually.
Under the current restrictions, it's more important that the local community has the opportunity to go out and enjoy tourism in their own backyard and support local businesses: enjoy cafes, restaurants and bars.
"We know that isolation has been hard for a lot of our residents and we are wanting them to invite their family and friends to come and visit now travel restrictions are lifting," shire tourism manager Tim Booth said.
"Just like after the fires, we understand some members of our community may not feel ready for visitors returning.
"It's also important we support local businesses and start to rebuild our economy. We'll be easing back into our promotions and the visiting friends and relatives campaign is a good place to start."
As for the possibility that tourists will return for day trips to the Illawarra, Mr Sleigh said the simple lifting of the travel ban was not enough for a "meaningful" economic boost.
"This announcement is an exciting one in that we're starting to see restrictions starting to lift and people are starting to travel, but I think it's unlikely, and arguably irresponsible for people to start promoting travel to regions in a big way," he said.
"While the current restrictions are still in place limiting public gatherings to 10 people it is doubtful whether tourism can resume in any meaningful sense.
"Under the current restrictions, it's more important that the local community has the opportunity to go out and enjoy tourism in their own backyard and support local businesses: enjoy cafes, restaurants and bars."
Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said she remained concerned about the virus spreading and would maintain a high degree of caution when visiting busy areas in the coming weeks.
"Will I be out there greeting them, probably not," she said.
"Businesses are really in need of people coming back to the region, there's no doubt. But it will take a concerted effort of many to make sure we don't have a second wave of this virus."
"However, I do think this will take care of itself. I don't think the majority of people will take that trip if they're not ready to deal with it."
She said it would be up to individual businesses to make sure they had distancing markings, hand sanitiser and any other measures in place as Shellharbour's tourist hot spots become busier.
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the weather would determine how busy Wollongong's coastline is as the restrictions lift, and said he expected further easing of restrictions as people continue to abide by the social distancing requirements.
Cr Bradbery also said he did not believe caravan parks and camp ground would be reopened to the public in full just yet, which would limit the economic benefits of Wednesday's announcement for Wollongong.
"Day visitors don't have the same effect, because that's not where the money is," he said.
"As far as I know, we haven't got clear advice on whether our tourist parks will be up and running. The cabins are self contained so perhaps they will be able to operate, but as for shared facilities for caravaning and camping that will remain off limits for the moment. You can't even open the change rooms at pools, so I can't see that happening yet."
Kiama Mayor Mark Honey welcomed the lifting of restrictions, saying council, local business and the wider community were well-prepared for the return of visitors.
"Council has been working for some time to ensure all areas of our community are ready for the staged lifting of COVID-19 restrictions," Cr Honey said.
"Our economy is heavily reliant on visitors and tourists, and our business owners and their employees have suffered enormously ever since the summer bushfires and now with COVID."
"What's most important is that our guests can be assured we have done everything possible to make our municipality a COVID-Safe community."
"Please come down, enjoy our beautiful beaches, villages, holiday parks, shops and cafes. But please respect the physical distancing and hygiene practices that have made it possible to travel once more."