You know Wagga’s Gold Cup has become a big deal when you can arrive in the city on a private plane.
A fresh charter business announced its intention to transport race-goers ahead of this years “blockbuster” meet, now merely weeks away.
For more than a century, the prestigious horse racing event has attracted a top field of horses, high-class fashion and more than 12,000 visitors from across the country.
It has become one of the region's largest events, with tourism leaders claiming the Gold Cup gets better year on year.
It comes after the city experienced an “unprecedented” boost to the local economy on the back of the 2017 Gold Cup carnival.
It was estimated the prestigious event injected more than $1.1 million into Wagga, as race-goers swarmed across the city, bringing crowds from destinations far and wide.
With the race-day buzz attracting nation-wide attention, Stratus Aviation owner Simon Waters said he was determined to bring VIP level service to the area.
In a city first, Mr Waters said his private chartered flights would transport travellers to Wagga, treating them like superstar for “a comparable price to commercial operators”.
“We can provide a VIP twin Engine King Air for just $750 return,” he said.
“Not only are you travelling first class but you are there and back in a day.”
It comes as commercial flights to and from Wagga begin to sell out, with most hotels and motels across the city already claiming they have no further vacancies listed across the two-day carnival.
Best Western Charles Sturt Suites and Apartments general manager Jamie Pascoe said it was the same every year.
The whole town books out,” Mr Pascoe said.
“It’s an exciting couple of days.”
Mr Pascoe said it was a great event for Wagga, showcasing what a regional city could put on as a race day.
“We have a lot of repeat customers that have been coming for more than ten years,” he said.
“They love the event.”
Mr Pascoe said Gold Cup gave tourism a boost, which was good for local venues and accommodation.
“There are so many people enjoying themselves,” he said.
“We just make sure they have a really good time.”