Australia’s peak tourism body has urged the travel industry to continue to promote popular Australian destinations.
Amidst an ongoing fire crisis currently engulfing parts of the country, Tourism Australia says many of Australia’s most popular destinations have not been affected by bushfire.
These regions, according to the tourism body, need the travel industry’s support to “get people on planes”, and to boost bookings ahead of the coming year.
“Tourism Australia acknowledges the tough time many of you are facing at the moment, whether directly or indirectly impacted by this terrible bushfire season, and our thoughts and best wishes are with you,” the organisation said in an update.
“We are working to spread the message that the best way to help Australia’s tourism industry is to still visit, whilst at the same time providing factual information as to where the risk areas are at any given time. This as you know, can change from day to day.”
Since September, bushfires across Australia have killed at least 28 people and destroyed thousands of homes across multiple states. In New South Wales alone, around five million hectares of land have been lost so far, with more than a billion animals thought to have been killed as a result of out-of-control blazes, according to wildlife experts, according to ABC News.
In an effort to assure the industry that Australia remains well and truly open, Tourism Australia has created a bushfire information resource, fit with up-to-date information on popular tourism areas in Australia affected or unaffected by fires.
Among the destinations unaffected by bushfire, as detailed on Tourism Australia’s bushfire information page, are the Great Ocean Road, Hunter Valley, Whitsundays, Hobart and Launceston, the Margaret River, and Adelaide and its surrounds.
Cruise industry prepares for bushfire recovery
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia maintains that most Australian cruise destinations are unaffected by the fires, and confirmed all major cruise lines in the region are currently operating as scheduled.
To date, five cruise itineraries have had minor adjustments to avoid ports in areas that have been impacted by fire, CLIA said. While only two regional destinations have been affected, out of around 50 Australian ports, which are expected to be accessible again “soon”.
“Cruise lines have made clear they want to return to these ports as soon as possible to help support local businesses and assist in their recovery,” CLIA Australasia managing director Joel Katz said.
“Tourism is vital in these parts of Australia and the passion of local communities has made them popular destinations.”
The South Australian Tourism Commission has also commented on the situation on Kangaroo Island, where travel restrictions have been lifted, and advised it is in the process of creating a “three-phase” tourism recovery strategy.
“When it is safe and appropriate for us to travel to the island, we will sit down with industry leaders and tourism representatives to properly assess what help is needed first,” the commission said.
“We want to help the community get back on its feet as soon as possible in a tangible, practical and meaningful way.”
More travel companies step up to fundraise for fire relief
Wholesalers, tour operators and travel multinationals have rallied around the communities affected by bushfires across Australia, with some of the industry’s biggest players urging customers to donate.
The Intrepid Foundation has raised more than $600,000 for the Red Cross in support of those suffering from the devastating bushfires across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
“During this crisis, it is important for businesses and communities to dig deep and donate whatever they can to those that need it most,” Intrepid Travel CEO James Thornton said.
“So far the emergency appeal has raised a total of … $608,000, and we want to encourage everyone to continue to donate and give our fellow Australians some much needed support.”
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On Friday, Ola announced that it would donate 100 per cent of its weekend profits from rides across Australia, in support of bushfire relief.
The rideshare company announced its funds would be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund, and RSPCA Australia’s National Bushfire Appeal.
Late last week, Carnival directors Lee Mason and Chloe Leddo pledged to plummet down the Green Lightning and Green Thunder waterslides dressed in ball gowns if guests could raise $5,000 in donations.
This came after news the cruise company had commited $350,000 to the Australian Red Cross, in support of communities affected by the bushfire crisis.
Before the week’s end, passengers onboard both Carnival Splendor and Carnival Spirit were able to raise $15,200.
If you would like to help with bushfire response and recovery, please consider donating to one or more of the following organisations: