Dear industry partners, colleagues and friends,
We have all been moved by the devastating bushfires and weather events that have destroyed homes, forests, farms, townships, infrastructure and cost the lives of people and animals across Australia this summer. We have especially been moved by the extraordinary efforts of our firefighters and emergency services personnel to keep us safe and to protect our property, as well as the efforts of volunteers and the defence force to provide us with sustenance and safe sanctuary in face of these threats.
The scale of this disaster is immense: 7.5+ million hectares (larger than Benelux countries) have been burnt. These are regions where many Australians holiday and adventure, particularly over the summer holiday period. And of course these regions are home to some of us too.
For many of these regions it is tourism that is the backbone of their economy and the very reasons that attract us to holiday in these places may have been impacted severely by the bushfires.
We have been asked by many people “How can I help these devastated townships and regions?”
Firstly, it is important to understand that the bushfire threat is not yet over for some regions. It is still unsafe to travel to a number of these regions (some hamlets still remain cut-off), however, the rebuilding effort aided by some heavy rain has meant that a number of townships and regions have reopened for business.
We have been in touch with many of our regional partners and clients. They would desperately like to have you visit their region once it is safe to do so and once they are back up on their feet and open for business.
The economic impact of the fires is significant for regional areas across the country, both those directly affected but also those in similar regions where travellers have become nervous about travelling remotely. This provides a challenge for our regional partners where some are desperate for your tourism business today, while some are just not ready (or safe) for visitation. Tourism Australia and the federal government in collaboration with the states have recently released funding in the order of $70 million to help revitalise the regional tourism and have also published a map (available here) to provide a list of regions that are open (or closed) for business.
This campaign has begun in earnest from both federal and state levels which has been inspiring to see. Two such campaigns are:
Holiday Here this Year - released by Tourism Australia
#BOOKTHEMOUT - driven by SA Tourism