Australia’s tourism industry has given the Federal Government a ‘big tick’ for moving quickly to give Tourism Australia (TA) extra funding muscle to boost the tourism industry after the tragic fires of the last few months, said Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) CEO Margy Osmond.

“An initial $76m tourism support and promotion package announced today will aim to resurrect flagging numbers as tourists vote with their feet and book elsewhere due to uncertainty about safety and perceptions that all Australian destinations have been fire ravaged.

“This first tranche of recovery funding will go towards both a dedicated domestic tourism marketing initiative and a targeted international information campaign, as well as regional event support, international media hosting, support for major business conference the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) and finally a program of diplomatic advocacy.

“Tourism is and will continue to be the fundamental economic powerhouse for Australia, but the impact of the fires on our international brand has meant serious levels of cancellations and failures to book from some of our key overseas markets, the US, UK and Japan.

“Equally we need to encourage Aussies to holiday in their own backyard and understand that many country areas are unaffected by the bushfires and want to welcome them back.

“Even with this targeted support the sector could face real challenges with respect to short and medium term recovery including job losses and small businesses closures, particularly in regional areas.

“The Government has heard this message loud and clear and this funding package is an important first stage and hits the right places. It will be a real shot in the arm for local businesses in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It will also be critical for areas unaffected by fires like the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia, who are suffering major cancellations due to sensationalist international and social media suggesting destinations like Uluru are on fire.

“As the weather conditions improve, the real work now begins to put the gorgeous sparkle back into the great Aussie tourism brand.”