Responding to the recent and ongoing bushfire crises, the Federal Government has announced an initial $76 million recovery package with Prime Minister Scott Morrison claiming Australian tourism was facing “its biggest challenge in living memory”.
Prime Minister Morrison explained that the funding, to be drawn from the Government’s national bushfire recovery fund, is urgently required to assist those businesses impacted by the bushfire crisis.
The Australian Tourism Industry Council has estimated the recent bushfires have cost the national industry “hundreds of millions” of dollars and damaged Australia’s brand internationally, with a perception “the whole country’s on fire”.
The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) today welcomed the Government’s announcement of a $76 million industry specific bushfire recovery fund.
ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley advised “today’s announcement of the Governments Rebuilding Australian Tourism package will be welcomed by tourism businesses across Australia.
“The inbound industry has experienced millions of dollars in cancellations from intending international travellers and we are also seeing a significant decrease in forward bookings which we have estimated will reduce inbound tourism revenue by up to $4.5billion.”
The Government’s package includes $20 million for marketing to domestic travellers and $25 million for a global tourism campaign to advise international visitors that Australia is “safe and open for business”, as well as $10 million towards creating new attractions in bushfire affected regions of the country.
Shelley added “we applaud the key initiatives nominated to help the inbound tourism sector to recover including an increase in international media and social media influencer engagement along with support for the Australian Tourism exchange which is our largest annual trade show.
“While tourism businesses on the frontline of recent bushfires have an immediate need for support in their recovery, our global reputation as a holiday destination has been significantly impacted and we need to act urgently to reassure visitors that Australia is open for business.
Prime Minister Morrison stressed “Australian tourism is facing its biggest challenge in living memory. Our $76 million investment is an urgent injection to help all those hotels, restaurants and cafes and tour operators get back on their feet.
“This is make or break for many businesses and tourist hot spots and not just in those areas directly hit by the bushfires.
“This is about getting more visitors to help keep local businesses alive and protect local jobs right across the country and especially in those areas so directly devastated such as Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills, the Blue Mountains and right along the NSW Coast and East Gippsland in Victoria.”
The federal government funding will provide grants of up to $1.5 million per project for events such as concerts and festivals, alongside permanent attractions such as art installations and tourist walks in fire-affected regions, with the worst-impacted areas to be prioritised.
The package also includes funding to encourage international publicity for Australia’s tourism industry and spread the message that Australia’s educational and export sectors are still open for business, as well as drive attendance to the Australian Tourism Exchange.
Tourism Australia has also welcomed today’s announcement of the $76 million tourism recovery package as part of the National Bushfire Recovery Fund to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies by helping get tourists travelling across Australia again.
Tourism Australia will be launching a domestic tourism campaign this week. The campaign will incorporate joint activity with the States, Territories and industry partners as it evolves. The campaign will encourage Australians to holiday in Australia and provide support specifically to affected communities and regions, but also more broadly support to the entire industry that is affected by this downturn.
International Marketing Campaign – $25 million – funding boost
Tourism Australia is redeploying its existing marketing budgets and campaigns, with an initial $25 million boost, to protect and restore Australia’s reputation as an international tourism destination, by reinforcing to global audiences that Australia is safe and open for business. More information about these activities will be shared shortly.
International Media Hosting – $9.5 million – to significantly increase activities
Tourism Australia will expand its existing International Media Hosting Program to bring international media outlets, leading television shows and print media to Australia to see firsthand that most of Australia is unaffected by fires, open for business and welcoming visitors.
Australian Tourism Exchange – $6.5million – to increase support for Australia’s largest annual tourism business to business event
The Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) brings together Australian tourism businesses and tourism wholesalers and retailers from around the world through a combination of scheduled business appointments and networking events. It also provides international travel buyers with the opportunity to experience Australia’s tourism offering first-hand through pre and post event familiarisations. ATE delivers between $5.5 billion and $8.5 billion in international sales to the Australia’s tourism industry across 30 countries.
Cross Government Initiatives
Tourism Australia will also be working across government and the sector more broadly on the other two initiatives announced – the regional events initiative and the international diplomatic activities.
ATEC’s Managing Director Shelley added “timing is now of the essence with key booking windows from our larger international markets closing towards the end of February, therefore engaging these markets in the short term, especially via the established tourism trade channels will be critical.
“Our united strategy needs to be strong and nuanced, clearly defined, well-resourced and expertly executed in order to balance the swirling negative perceptions of Australia which have come off the back of the bushfires.
“Australia’s tourism industry is the economic backbone of many of the regional communities impacted by the recent bushfires. As an industry employing one in 13 Australians and an inbound sector contributing more than $44billion a year to the national economy, we can’t afford to waste any time getting our export tourism outlook back on track.”
17th January 2020 – ATEC emphasises the need for positive messages to international tourists
15th January 2020 – Environmental and wildlife organisations meet to steer recovery process following bushfires
9th January 2020 – Bushfires have massive impact on Australian tourism industry
8th January 2020 – Sydney Festival show cancelled due to bushfires and poor air quality
7th January 2020 – Bushfires destroy Selwyn Snow Resort
5th January 2020 – Bushfires push numerous Australian animal species towards extinction
4th January 2020 – VTIC provides advice for businesses impacted by the bushfires
3rd January 2020 – Bushfires predicted to have massive financial impact on Australian tourism industry
3rd January 2020 – Bushfires prevent Aeroflow Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars from competing at Perth Motorplex
31st December 2019 – Heroic effort by zookeepers saves Mogo Zoo from devastating bushfires
21st December 2019 – $6 million funding for Queensland tourist destinations impacted by bushfires
20th December 2019 – Bushfires see luxury NSW Blue Mountains resort suspends arrivals
18th November 2019 – Aussie Ark calls for wildlife support during bushfires
12th November 2019 – Bushfires cause cancellation of Rally Australia World Championship event
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