Tourism

BUSHFIRES: US lowers travel warning, koalas appear in NYC and Jacinda Ardern boosts tourism

Companies and individuals continue to rally behind Australia in our time of need, providing unprecedented support amid the country’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

Here’s the latest round of donations and updates to keep you informed:

US lowers bushfire warning for travellers

The US has downgraded its bushfire warning for tourists travelling to Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison held phone conversations with US vice president Mike Pence and secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

While the state departments warning keeps Australia at a level two warning, which is the same as war-torn Gaza, the language has been altered, according to The Daily Telegraph.

The warning no longer informs travellers the current bushfire season was “one of the worst in Australia’s recorded history” or that the fires may “continue through March and April 2020.

The new advisory also drops mention that “tourists should consider postponing their trips to affected areas until the danger of natural disaster has passed”.

Koalas popping up in NYC

Plush koalas have reportedly been popping up near landmarks around New York City as a reminder for locals and tourists to donate to the bushfire crisis.

According to 7 News, Melbourne based media agency Cummins&Partners’ New York office has been hanging the stuffed toys around the city since last Friday.

Each koala has a tag hanging off it with a QR code that directs people to a GoFundMe page to donate to WIRES.

Kiwi PM promotes post-fire tourism

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has been spotted posing for countless photos with locals during a family holiday in South-East Queensland.

ABC News reported Ardern has visited Tamborine Mountain and Kingscliff in northern NSW. And tourism experts predict she is doing wonders to boost post-fire tourism.

“An important part of recovery after a major event is letting people know that destinations are open to visit,” Griffith Institute for Tourism director Sarah Gardiner told ABC News.

“This is really important in terms of the rebuilding and getting people coming back to Australia again.

“Obviously she has got a huge following in New Zealand, and is a very popular Prime Minister, so I think it will get out there and people will think about the region as a place to visit.”

Donations continue to pour in 

Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation has pledged $1.5 million through his family foundation to focus specifically on back-to-school needs for children affected by the fires.

UNICEF Australia, a trusted champion for children, will receive $1.2 million of the contribution from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation to provide essential and targeted support for hundreds of children in families whose lives have been thrown into turmoil in the current bushfire emergency.

The family foundation will also support a separate project to help Australia’s unique wildlife as a result of the fires.

Boeing has also chipped in $1 million to be directed through the Red Cross for bushfire relief.

Meanwhile, hotel giant Marriott has announced a series of initiatives to gather donations and offer accommodation for volunteers.

For the next 60 days, Marriott International will be undertaking the following in support of bushfire relief:

  • All Marriott International hotels in Australia will be donating room nights for volunteers from fire services and departments in all six states and two territories*
  • Each hotel will be providing options for guests to donate cash or Marriott Bonvoy points (that will be transferred to cash) upon check out. Donations will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund
  • Providing options for associates to donate to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund
  • Fundraising events at individual hotels, with more details to come. Please check the hotels’ Facebook and Instagram pages for information

And finally, Exodus Travel has committed to fighting climate change, which largely contributes to the fire disaster, by becoming a signatory of the Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency pledge.

The pledge aims to fight climate change by significantly reducing the growing environmental impact on people and the planet by 2050.

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