A month ago the Daily Advertiser reported a "significant drop" in numbers of holiday makers in the Riverina region although figures showed they were spending more per trip; a fact that NSW Business Chamber's regional manager, Andrew Cottrill, described as both alarming on one hand but that there was huge scope to increase the region's economy through tourism.
"It's something the government needs to invest in, more support for regional businesses to rebuild their visitor numbers," Mr Cottrill said, and he is right.
At that time we had just completed four days aboard the southern hemisphere's biggest paddle wheeler, the Murray Princess, along the Murray River on a jazz cruise with Bill Parton's Rat Pack band followed by eight days on an excursion to Broken Hill, the Darling River and Menindee.
Why Broken Hill you may well ask? One, it was a chance for my wife to revisit the city where she did her obstetrics nursing training in 1964 and two, because former Wagga man, Allan Norris, last year told me every Australian should savour the rich and diversified heritage of Broken Hill.
Norris flew there several times before spending a year on a Bush Heritage Australia property, Boolcoomatta, which was managed by his son, Glen, who still works for the organisation; he got to know some of the local players on the Broken Hill scene which gave him a better insight and understanding of the place. "Its survival led to it becoming the nation's first heritage city," Norris said.
Wagga's part may well be ... expanding our City of Good Sports concept
He's not wrong in his assessment either because as journalist Damien Murphy said in his 2014 story about Australia's first terrorism attack - yes, it was in Broken Hill - you will find it also gave us BHP, actor Chips Rafferty, soprano June Bronhill and painters Pro Hart, Jack Absalom and Howard Stier, amongst many others.
There were 40,000 residents there when my wife was nursing, it had dropped to 28,000 when Norris made his first visit and it's now at about 19,000 and holding; tourism is keeping it there and is now the second biggest industry to mining.
That's due to the deliberate and calculated step taken by the Broken Hill City Council when, some 20 years ago, when mining appeared to be weakening, it launched into tourism with gusto. Much of this, according to the locals, is due to long-time Mayor Peter Black, who was in the job for 19 years, and then as State Labor MP.
It is paying off big-time, while mining prospects are resurging, too. Everyone is talking about the discovery of two huge iron ore deposits rated on calculations made recently to be amongst the biggest in the world, plus a find 15 kilometres from the city and less than 50 metres below the surface of exotic metals including rhodium, osmium, iridium, ruthenium and cobalt.
Norris reckons there are two sorts of locals still there; those who love it (and, I would add, proud to tell you they were born there) and those who would love to move if they could.
So, what's the point?. It's that there is an example from Broken Hill in particular and tourism in general for the third tier of government - local councils - that tourism can drive regional Australia and the other two levels of government should stop wasting money on spending billions propping up the gas-guzzling populations of metropolitan Eastern Australia.
There's a message there for Canberra also not to spend another red cent on transport in our metropolitan cities, but get our river and water systems sorted, irrigation flowing and for regional councils to build a tourism system to repeat the Broken Hill story across the wide brown land.
It is noted that on Tuesday this week the Sydney Morning Herald reported Infrastructure Australia warned it would be quicker by 2031 to jog to Sydney's CBD from the north shore as the surge in road and rail projects would not prevent the city from becoming paralysed; so, what's the point continuing?
When then environment minister, Greg Hunt, launched Broken Hill as the first heritage city in 2015 he said "the incredible resources that have characterised the city have been the basis upon which so much of our nation has been built".
It is hoped that local government councils can together throughout Australia drive inland tourism; Wagga's part may well be in promoting and expanding our City of Good Sports concept which really has more untapped potential to be shared with the rest of the nation and beyond.
The famed National Geographic photographer, Frank Lanting, once said: "Tourism is important because it can create sustainable local economies."