Armidale Regional Council's principal advisor Tourism and Regional Events Tony Broomfield said there was evidence that Armidale's visitor numbers had improved last week, after rain fell in the district.
"We measure on a monthly basis, so I don't know January's figures yet, but the word on the street is that we've got people coming in who are optimistic," Mr Broomfield said.
"They've sort of forgotten about the fires up here, they've heard we've got water and that the gorges are flowing and they're coming back.
"So there is a degree of optimism and we'll see how it manifests itself at the end of January. But I went out to the gorges on Sunday and the car park was full."
He said it was the first flow in about 18-months and families who were obviously on holidays along with locals went out to see it.
Figures for the first half of 2019 show a 4.4 per cent increase to 25,077 visitors from January - June, when compared to the previous year.
Second-half figures for July - December dropped by 10 per cent, down 22,985 visitors on 2018 numbers.
Mr Broomfield pointed out some monthly figures in the half-yearly totals told their own story.
Snow in Guyra during August saw visitor numbers climb by 9.9 per cent, while bushfires and the drought in November saw a 14.4 per cent fall and the statewide chaos of December saw our visitor numbers drop by a massive 26.5 per cent on last year's figures.
Mr Broomfield said the Armidale Regional Airport actually went against the national trend.
"Perversely the fires have generated a lot of additional passengers," he said.
"Passenger movements increased 0.02 per cent last calendar year, that is in the context of regional airports generally seeing a decline of between 5 per cent to 12 per cent.
"January and the rains have brought a positive change with waterfalls flowing [and] good numbers of visitors in evidence at Dangars Falls over the weekend."
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