Cancellation rates to cost tourism industry $1b

Cancellation rates of more than 60 per cent across regional Victoria and NSW are set to cost the tourism industry $1 billion in lost revenue.

The majority of people deciding to stay home are Australians, with international visitors not cancelling to the same extent.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is meeting with senior members of the tourism industry today to discuss ways to counter the negative effect of the worldwide coverage of the bushfires and subsequent loss of wildlife.

In Victoria South Gippsland, central Victoria, the lower alpine areas and the Murray are the most affected by cancellations, with central NSW, Western Plains and some parts of Tasmania also affected.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week personally intervened to change the US travel warning to Australia after the State Department warned travellers they should “exercise increased caution” when heading to Australia.

“We’ll be updating the tourism industry on what we’re doing to correct the misinformation that is out there about the geographical reach of these bushfires and also the targeted activity that is continuing to make sure the world knows Australia is still open for business and that we want tourists to visit,” said Birmingham in a report by The Age.

“We’ll also be telling the industry that the government stands ready to help our tourism industry to not only rebuild infrastructure where required but to continue to promote the incredible tourism experiences that are still on offer across Australia in unaffected areas but also in fire-affected areas when it is safe to welcome tourists again.

“This will also be an opportunity for the industry and operators to put their ideas and initiatives on the table so we can continue to back them to offer the world-class experiences our country is known for.”