There are over 300,000 tourism businesses in Australia, 290,000 of which are small businesses. These businesses are highly susceptible to the effects of disasters because they rely on our natural assets to attract visitors. Throughout this bushfire event reporting has quite rightly detailed where risk has existed for visitors. Unfortunately, these reports and some others that have exaggerated the impacts, have deterred international and local visitors to both affected and unaffected regions alike.
National Bushfire Recovery Fund Tourism Package
The government has announced an initial $76 million dollar 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. Listed below are the packages key actions and initiatives:
- Temporarily re-enter the domestic marketing space, coordinating a national campaign in partnership with the states and territories ($20 million); (See below)
- International recovery campaign funding boost ($25 million);
- Increase our international media hosting activities ($9.5 million); and
- Increase support for the Australian Tourism Exchange ($6.5 million)
Other Government Initiatives:
- A regional tourism events initiative to support regional events and activities ($10 million); and
- Additional funding for the international diplomatic network to reassure our international partners that Australia is open for business ($5 million)
The Australian Chamber’s press release can be found here.
The tourism industry is already being significantly affected, with international forward bookings up to 23% down on last year. Whilst the fire events continue, the misinformation, particularly off-shore is causing mass cancellations even to regions that are unaffected. Tourism Australia has developed a reference tool for industry, consumer and media to have a developed a ‘one-stop shop’ in order to counter misinformation. It draws upon multiple sources of information from around the country and is updated daily. This single point of truth helps travelers understand that most of Australia is not impacted by the fires by providing a regional breakdown.
As part of the $76 million dollar National Bushfire Recovery Tourism Package, Tourism Australia has launched a domestic campaign ‘Holiday Here This Year.’
The campaign taps into the overwhelming goodwill and support behind the bushfire recovery by urging Australians to travel in their own backyard this year. Backed by all states and territory governments, this will help to provide a much-needed boost to tourism operators and communities around the country. Holiday Here This Year asks Australians to get out there and see their own backyard. Whether it be a weekend away near home, a trip to another state or discovering somewhere in Australia they’ve always wanted to visit. Find out more about the campaign here.
You can get involved with the campaign by:
- Commit to the Holiday Here This Year message: Download the custom toolkit. It’s got everything you need to know about the campaign and how to integrate Holiday Here This Year into your marketing.
- Spread the word: Let everyone know you’re open for business by posting on social media with #HolidayHereThisYear.
- Show Australians your little bit of Australia: Join the Facebook event and engage with the posts by commenting and sharing photos and information about your destination.
‘Event Here This Year’ coordinated by Business Events Australia and aligned with Tourism Australia’s ‘Holiday Here this Year’, is a campaign designed to help provide a boost to the events industry in the wake of the bushfires. The campaign asks organisations to hold their business events at home rather than abroad.
You can get involved with the campaign by:
- Share the ‘Event Here This Year’ message: Download the custom toolkit. It’s got everything you need to know about the campaign and how to integrate Event Here this Year into your marketing
- Commit to holding events at home: If you’re a decision-maker, choose Australia. If you’re an event influencer convince your clients and encourage your networks to event in Australia this year.
- Spread the word: Spread the message further by posting your #eventherethisyear experiences on social media.
- Join the Business Events Australia webinar: Open to all in the business events industry. Business Events Australia will answer any questions you have on the ‘Event Here this Year’ domestic campaign on Thursday 30 January at 3.00pm AEST. Register here.
This initiative has been widely supported, and the NSW Business Chamber has launched a ‘Backing the bush’ website where companies of all sizes can pledge their promise to hold a board, management or staff meeting in one of the impacted areas between now and the end of 2020. Hundreds of businesses have already pledged to hold an event in a bushfire affected community including ACCI.
Tourism Australia has created a dynamic map showing bushfire impacted destinations, The map can be accessed here.
For bushfire information, including which destinations are safe to travel to, please go to the Tourism Australia website. Bushfire safety tips while travelling are available here.
National Tourism Incident Communication Plan
Austrade has activated the National Tourism Incident Communication Plan (NTICP). The NTICP provides an overarching framework for State and Territory tourism organisations to establish lines of communication between Government agencies and industry. The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry is represented in this Bushfire recovery group and will be providing ongoing updates to relevant members. For further information on the recovery group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affected Tourism Businesses
For businesses who have either been directly impacted or indirectly impacted by bushfires (work in a bushfire affected zone) there are a number of Government recovery support resources available. These Government recovery strategies focus on ensuring the commercial survival of regional tourism businesses over the short term while the destination recovers. For more detailed information on financial support available, please visit the financial information, grants, tax and state specific services pages.
The Federal Government has also generated a National Bushfire Recovery Factsheet, listing key emergency assistance contacts and a list of frequently asked questions.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is working with the tourism industry to ensure that tourism rebuilds in the wake of the disaster.
“Many of Australia’s best known tourism regions have previously faced natural disasters such as bushfires and cyclones yet bounced back in a strong demonstration of their resilience as world-class tourism destinations.
“We also want to commend the industry for the incredible compassion it is showing, with many operators offering a place to sleep, eat, drink or rest to locals and travellers in need.” – Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham