In the 12 years that Trudy Schultz has been managing accommodation in Gloucester she's never seen occupancy so high for so long. Since the easing of COVID restrictions at the end of May, Trudy has seen a 90 to 100 per cent occupancy rate across the seven properties she manages. "And it's not just the weekends, we are booked out doing the week as well," Trudy explained. "It's not like it used to be where it was slow during the week." Trudy is also the chairperson of Tourism Advancing Gloucester and at the start of the year, she proposed they look to do something to help maintain Gloucester's identity within MidCoast Council's branding of the region, Barrington Coast. "Gloucester is different from Forster, Taree and Bulahdelah and we thought it was important to keep Gloucester's own identity," Trudy said. It was agreed to launch a new Facebook and Instagram page called, Love Gloucester - Barrington Coast. Trudy starting pushing out regular posts highlighting the beauty of the region. There were photos of the rivers, mountains, parks and the town, basically anything that promotes the area. Social media campaigns seem to be the most successful when the posts are about things of interest, as opposed to just trying to sell a product, and in the middle of a global pandemic, featuring plenty of nature and wide-open spaces may have done the trick. According to Trudy, since June, Gloucester has been flat out on the accommodation front and there are no signs of it easing. "I've never seen anything like this. We're still wondering when is the bubble going to burst?" she said. Across the 17 units of the houses, apartments and motel styles accommodation that Trudy manages, the general consensus is that people love coming to the area. "The absolutely love it. They love the friendliness of the town," she said. Some of the visitors had never heard of Gloucester before and since coming here, they're hooked. Trudy reckons one of the reasons is Gloucester's convenient location between the beach and the mountains. "It's very much in the centre of everything they want to do." Unlike in the past, when people tended to use Gloucester as a stopover location, more people are booking for multiple nights. "It's now becoming a destination," Trudy said. For Trudy, having a tourism business booming amid COVID-19 comes with a sense of responsibility. "I've been screening all my bookings and anyone from a hot spot, I cancel their booking," Trudy explained. "I feel it's part of my obligation to the community to keep people safe."