Australia to lose billions as raging bushfires deter tourists: Report

Source: Twitter

Australia will lose billions of dollars in tourism revenue as international visitors cancel trips in droves due to bushfires raging across the country, an industry body forecast Friday.

The number of travellers booking visits to Australia has fallen 10-20 per cent since the fires began in September and the slump will cost the economy an estimated 4.5 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) this year, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) said.

"International visitors are cancelling because of fears around air quality, safety and the impact fires have had on our tourism offering as well as a lack of certainty on how long it will take for us to recover," ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

Global media have given extensive coverage to the wildfires, which have killed at least 28 people, burned an area larger than Portugal and blanketed the key tourist cities of Sydney and Melbourne in toxic smoke.

ATEC said the disaster had hit travel from the US, UK and Europe the hardest, coinciding with the December-February period which traditionally sees 50 per cent of the annual tourist bookings from those markets.

Shelley said the industry and government need to urgently get the message out that many key tourism destinations are largely unaffected by the fires.

"There is no doubt our industry will take a hit," he said. "The sooner we can communicate a strong, positive message, the better."

Australia's conservative government, which has come under intense criticism for its response to the fires and to the global warming which scientists say has been a major contributing factor to the crisis, has announced a 2 billion Australian dollars "bushfire recovery plan".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that this would include a significant boost for the tourism industry, with details to be unveiled next week.

Tourism Australia was forced to suspend an upbeat advertising campaign launched in the middle of the crisis featuring pop star Kylie Minogue after the ad was met with incredulity about what many saw as poor timing.



Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel