Australia urges tourists not to cancel in wake of Bushfire Crisis
Over the past month, our lives have been saturated with scenes of devastation resulting from the Bush Fires to the east, and our hearts and sympathies go out to all those affected.
Global coverage of the bushfire devastation – and some inaccurate graphics that show the whole of Australia on fire – have contributed to tourists turning away.
As a family-owned business, our livelihoods, along with so many others within the Industry depend on the ongoing health of Australian Tourism.
Even though Western Australia has not borne the brunt of the bushfire crisis, WA companies are still feeling the heat, with tourists believing Australia is just too “dangerous” to visit.
The Tourism Council of WA says many overseas visitors have cancelled trips that included stops in Western Australia after seeing Sydney and Melbourne blanketed by a smoke haze.
Owners of the Margaret River Discovery Company, which runs wine and adventure tours in the region, posted a concerned message to Facebook last week.
“Please don’t cancel. That’s not what Australia needs right now.”
On Sunday, the federal government unveiled a $76 million tourism relief package to counter the misconception that all of Australia is on fire.
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia was interviewed by German international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, last week about the effects of the fires on international tourism to Australia.
The Minister promoted WA’s natural wonders, specifically the growing exposure of the Ningaloo Reef. Whilst expressing sympathy for those in the nation affected by the bushfire crisis, the Minister was clear in communicating that Western Australia was “Open for business.”
Tourism Australia has now launched a $20 million advertising campaign imploring Australians to stay closer to home on their next holiday in a bid to help tourism operators and fire-affected communities recover from the summer’s unprecedented bushfires.
“It’s critical that we help the industry get back on its feet as soon as possible,” said Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison.
“That is why we are asking people to commit to holidaying in their own backyard this year.”
Helpful links for travellers:
Tourism Australia’s alerts page is the best source for tourists with Australia-wide information on tourist regions.
The Bureau of Meteorology site shows nationwide weather updates, including fire warnings.
Each state and territory also has its own fire emergency sites, though they are not necesarily tailored for tourists: New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania,Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Queensland South Australia and Western Australia.
Google has an easy to digest map of which areas have been burned.
Air Quality has a city and regional breakdown for air quality in each city
Sources: 7 News https://7news.com.au/news/wa/bushfire-crisis-was-tourism-regions-feel-the-pinch-as-visitors-cancel-in-droves-c-656122; Deutsche Welle https://www.dw.com/en/australia-urges-tourists-not-to-cancel-holidays/a-51999329 ; WA Today https://www.watoday.com.au/business/the-economy/australians-urged-to-holiday-here-in-support-of-towns-hit-by-bushfires-20200122-p53tot.html