The federal government has announced a $76 million tourism recovery package to encourage tourists to return to Australia in the wake of the bushfire crisis.
The package is part of the government’s $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery fund and aims to boost tourism across Australia to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies.
According to Tourism Australia, $20 million of the funding will go towards domestic marketing, international marketing will get a $25 million boost with $9.5 million going towards international media hosting and the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) will get $6.5 million to put towards its business-to-business event.
“Australian tourism is facing its biggest challenge in living memory,” prime minister Scott Morrison said as the package was announced.
Accommodation industry bodies have voiced their support for the package, with the Accommodation Association, Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Australian Hotels Association all welcoming the announcement.
This comes as the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said bookings to Australia have dropped 10 to 20 per cent and will cost the country at least $45 billion by the end of the year, according to the Financial Review.
The bushfire crisis has captured the attention of Australians more than any other news event in the past decade, based on an analysis of Google searches, ABC News has reported, with searches eclipsing the 2018 Royal wedding, the downing of MH370 and the 2016 US presidential election.
States launch campaigns to bring support through tourism
The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has launched a recovery campaign for bushfire devastated regions in the state called “Help them out, #BookThemOut” to encourage tourists to visit Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island.
The campaign has been launched across TV, press and outdoor as well as on digital and social media platforms.
The campaign launched as SeaLink Travel Group started to run tours again on Kangaroo Island, and the first cruise ship, Sun Princess, returned to the island as a show of support to the community.
On the Victorian front, the state government has announced a “raft of measures” to help fire-affected regional areas.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the government would roll out the “full suite of marketing tools we have” interstate, intrastate and internationally to bring tourists back to Victoria using TV, radio, print and online platforms.
“As soon as it’s safe to do so, we will also be ready to start promoting those destinations which have been directly fire-affected, including far East Gippsland and parts of the North East, to help give them the boost when they need it most,” Andrews said.
Industry rallies to provide support
Helloworld and Sunlover Holidays have pledged to donate $50 for each booking made as part of its Australia on Sale campaign from 26 January to 21 February to the Red Cross.
For Sydney-bound travellers, Taronga Zoo has halved its entry prices to incentivise travellers to visit the city and learn about what Taronga is doing to help Aussie animals and raise money for its Wildlife Crisis Appeal.
Employees of APT Travel Group have rallied together to raise money for bushfire relief with a Recycle Boutique, BBQ, raffle and casual dress day donation. All money raised was doubled by the group’s foundation One Tomorrow.
Club Med‘s ongoing donations to the WWF Australian and Nature Recovery Fund has reached $30,000 and Hilton has made a $50,000 donation to the Salvation Army to put towards relief efforts and has promised to match Hilton Honours points member donations up to $100,000.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has also launched a new website to encourage tourism called Keep on Camping to encourage travellers to visit an area affected by the bushfires for their next caravan and camping trip.
Featured image: iStock.com/gajendra bhati