The Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) has called for Aussies to play their part in supporting inbound and domestic tourism.
Brett Jardine, managing director of CATO has extended “our sincerest condolences” to those affected by the bushfire crisis, including business owners and operators who are “feeling the devastating effects of these natural disasters”.
“The ongoing drought and recent fires will no doubt have a longer-term impact on both Australia’s inbound and outbound travel sectors,” Jardine said.
According to CATO’s ‘Australians on Holiday – International Leisure Travel Trends’ report, Australian holidaymakers took more than six million overseas leisure trips in 2018 – a figure that represents roughly 25 per cent of the country’s entire population – and Jardine believes this represents a significant advocacy opportunity for inbound tourism.
“Each of those travelling Australians is a potential advocate for everything Australia has to offer as an iconic tourist destination.
“Whether they’re chatting to locals over a beer in a British pub, part of a multi-nationality trekking group in Nepal, or skiing with foreigners in Japan, we encourage all travelling Australians to promote visitation down-under from all over the world,”
Meanwhile, Scenic Group has donated $500,000 to provide bushfire support and relief to communities across Australia.
“As an Australian founded company, we are committed to supporting the outstanding work of the many emergency services personnel, community services staff, volunteer firefighters and animal welfare organisations,” Glen Moroney, owner of Scenic Group said.
Our donation will provide financial support to a range of charities and organisations who are providing much-needed support to the many people, communities and wildlife affected by these unprecedented bushfires across Australia.”
The donation will be allocated to several charities and state organisations delivering direct support, aid and services, including the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal, the Salvation Army Emergency Services, state Country / Rural Fire Services and WIRES.
The accommodation industry is also stepping up, with Élysée Collective and World Resorts of Distinction (WRD) joining forces to launch Australian Spirit Soars; a silent auction in to raise money for rural communities and native wildlife affected by the fires.
The two-week initiative will continue until 5pm on Monday, 27 January, with all proceeds being directed to WIRES Wildlife Rescue who is working tirelessly to help save and protect Australia’s animals.
15 luxury travel packages – with more anticipated to come on board – have been contributed to the auction by some of the world’s most esteemed resorts, hotels and lodges including Aman, Soneva, Raes on Wategos, Nihi Sumba, Bawah Reserve, Vakkaru Maldives, Tokoriki Island Resort, Resplendent Ceylon, Sinalei Reef Resort and many more.
Vakkaru Maldives, whop chipped in a five-night stay for two for the auction, also pledged to support the Australian bushfire crisis by raising money through WIRES with a special charity dinner at the resort on 11 January.
Guests were invited to an Australian-themed dinner where menu items included braised pork belly with vegemite sauce and grilled Tasmanian salmon couscous and chai cake.