Safety and access to suitable transport are the two biggest factors for people deciding to holiday in areas hit by bushfires, according to a new survey released by the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber.
, conducted earlier this month at the height of the crisis, found 96% of tourists would consider returning to those areas, but only 11% would do so immediately.
“The results are not surprising and highlight the level of financial loss that many businesses in those bushfire impacted communities are suffering,” said NSW Business Chamber Chief Executive Stephen Cartwright.
“As we know, while tourism businesses suffer directly as a result of the cancellation of bookings, it’s also the other businesses in these towns that suffer as a flow on effect of no visitors,” Mr Cartwright said.
“Two thirds of respondents revealed that they had either cancelled, or were thinking about canceling, upcoming travel as a result of the bushfires.
“Not only does that have an incredible financial impact on businesses right now, but it also has a dramatic effect on their long term sustainability.
“What is really important is that, in the messaging sent out about the recovery and the towns that are re-opened for business, issues such as safety and transport access are addressed to ease immediate concerns.
“People know that the best way to help these communities is to spend money in the towns to support local businesses, so apart from cash donations, 33% of those surveyed also identified buying products and services from impacted communities as their way of helping.
“With 85% of those surveyed saying the primary factor in deciding to take a holiday in NSW is the knowledge that their holiday will support jobs in recovering communities, we need to do all we can to send a clear message that NSW is indeed open for business,” Mr Cartwright said.
NSW Tourism Industry Council Chairman Simon Spellicy believes that a silver lining from this disaster is that it presents a great opportunity for regional businesses to showcase their products and to develop a whole new and sustained customer base.
“What we also know is that there is so much goodwill not only from Australia but the rest of the world to help these areas get back on their feet, so it’s imperative that we collectively, and especially Governments, listen to what peoples genuine concerns are and respond accordingly,” Mr Spellicy said