Help rebuild Australian tourism with #BookThemOut

The unprecedented scale of bushfires in Australia has left the Australian tourism industry facing what Prime Minister Scott Morrison is calling “its biggest challenge in living memory”. 

The loss of tourism in fire-affected communities along with hundreds of local businesses that underpin it has reportedly cost the industry “hundreds of millions” of dollars. Now, what’s left is the mammoth task of rebuilding devastated communities and repairing the nation’s significantly charred international reputation.  

Help Them Out, #BookThemOut

The South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has launched a recovery campaign for the regions devastated by bushfires in South Australia.

The campaign, “Help them out, #BookThemOut” focuses on encouraging tourists to visit Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island to boost bookings and reinvigorate the local economies by spending in their regions.

“Help them out, #BookThemOut is a strong message that the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island remain amazing, unique holiday destinations with incredible consumer experiences, and these regions need tourism to thrive and survive. Tourists can play a big part in helping these regions get back on their feet by sharing their experiences on social networks,” said Rodney Harrex, SATC chief executive. 

Local operator, Craig Wickham from Exceptional Kangaroo Island who took part in the campaign filming said:

“Our marine experiences are totally unaffected, Seal Bay is open again with the world-class sea-lion experience, and we have tens of thousands of hectares of parks providing habitat for many birds, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, koalas and more. Sadly, we have lost some of our accommodations but still have many beautiful places to stay including the new Oceanview Eco Villas and we have all our cellar door and farm-gate experiences, plus beaches, hikes, lookouts, galleries and restaurants. The usual Kangaroo Island experience can be enjoyed – but perhaps in different places,” Craig said. 

The campaign will launch across TV, press and outdoor, as well as digital and social media platforms, with a large part of the campaign driven through social, user-generated content and PR.

Morrison government fund million dollar tourism recovery plan

This latest campaign comes after the Federal Government provided an initial $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.

“One in thirteen Australian jobs rely on tourism and hospitality so our $76 million investment is an urgent injection to help all those hotels, restaurants and cafes and tour operators get back on their feet,” Mr Morrison said in a statement announcing the funding package.

The Government’s package responds directly to calls from the tourism sector and includes funding of $20 million for a nationally coordinated domestic marketing initiative to be launched this week, and $25 million for a global marketing campaign to reinforce to global audiences that Australia is safe and open for business. 

As well as this, $10 million will be provided for a regional tourism events initiative; $9.5 million for an international media hosting program to show global media outlets first hand that most of Australia is still intact; $6.5 million to support tourism business’ attendance at the largest annual tourism trade event, the Australian Tourism Exchange; and $5 million to support global diplomatic activities. 

Rebuilding Australian Tourism
Image: Instagram/Quentin Chester

“These bushfires have dealt the biggest reputational blow to our tourism industry that it has ever faced internationally,” Federal Minister for Tourism Simon Birmingham commented. 

“Just as it will be a long and challenging process for communities as they rebuild from fires, it will also take time and a sustained effort to recover from the saturation media coverage and mistruths told online that have scared potential visitors away, including from parts of Australia that remain completely unaffected by fire.”

However despite this urgent need to eradicate the belief that ‘all of Australia is on fire,’ Australia’s first point of call is to call on locals to react now by visiting the towns in need.  

“Australians have shown enormous compassion towards fire affected communities and donated in record sums,” Mr Birmingham added. “For those who can, the next best way to help fire-affected and other tourism-dependent towns is to make a booking for a short break, visiting these towns and helping to sustain their small businesses and local jobs.”

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