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Gippslanders are being urged to take safety seriously this summer with visitor numbers in holiday hotspots expected to soar as Melbournians leave the city after months of coronavirus curfews and lockdowns.

Local MP Darren Chester says traffic on the roads will be heavier and our beaches and waterways busier with people eager to enjoy the summer break in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.

“Gippsland is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year but we can expect a surge in visitors heading here to enjoy our beaches, lakes, rivers, national parks and towns at the end of a stressful and uncertain year,” Mr Chester said. “The tourism sector is already reporting an increase in bookings.

“There will be plenty of boats and caravans on the road and many drivers may not be familiar with our region.  We need to be patient and considerate so everyone makes it to their destination safely.

“There are many spots where motorists can stop to break up a long journey, including plenty of small towns where you can enjoy more of Gippsland along the way.”

Mr Chester, who has been involved with the Lakes Entrance Surf Life Saving Club for many years,  also urged people to be safe around the region’s swimming spots and waterways.

“Rivers are the leading location for drownings in Australia, but you must be vigilant wherever you are, including at our beaches, lakes, rivers and pools. I want to urge everyone to take care as they enjoy the water these holidays,” Mr Chester said.

Mr Chester said Gippsland was an ideal getaway for people looking for an escape from the city.

“There really is something for everyone in our region, whether you want to go to the mountains, lakes, rivers or the coast, or spend time exploring our towns and regional centres,” Mr Chester said.

“Many Gippslanders will spend their holidays here because they know this is a great place to be at this time of year. I hope they encourage their friends and family from elsewhere to join them so they can show them what our region has to offer.”

“I hope everyone has a safe and memorable time here in Gippsland, wherever they are and whatever they are doing.”

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