The Tourism Industry Division of the state’s peak business organisation, the NSW Business Chamber, says the Federal Government’s support package to boost tourism in areas impacted by the recent bushfires will be applauded by tourism operators and local communities.

The Prime Minister has announced funding of more than $75 million to boost local and international tourism, as well as offering support for regional areas to host events and festivals.

“This is great news and something that will provide a real boost for tourism operators across the state,” said NSW Tourism Industry Council Chairman Simon Spellicy.

“We’ve all seen the impact the fires have had on local communities, and tourism has been hit particularly hard,” Mr Spellicy said.

“The concern is there will be both short-term and long term impacts. Significant existing bookings have been cancelled, and future bookings unlikely to return without a clear message that NSW and the rest of Australia is open for business and these communities need our help.

“It’s important to understand what tourism brings to areas most affected by the fires like the South Coast, Blue Mountains and the Snowy region – not only is it people in the towns spending money in the hospitality sector, but it’s money for local business across industries, and the exposure of their products to new markets.

“Some of these areas have higher levels of unemployment than the rest of the state and for many a strong visitor economy is crucial to the recovery and sustainability of the broader local economy.
“What we do know is it isn’t going to be easy or a quick fix – so it’s up to all of us to spread the word throughout our networks that while the fires did have a catastrophic impact on some towns, the recovery effort is well underway and all communities welcome visitors with open arms.

“Many people have been watching on with horror from other parts of the country wondering how they can help stand alongside their fellow Australians who have felt the direct effects. The message is simple – go and visit the regions, stay if only for a few days, engage and experience what our regions have to offer, and spend while you are there. These are small acts, but collectively they can have large outcomes.

“The Tourism Industry also commends the Prime Minister on the announcement that part of the funding will assist in sending regional tourism operators to upcoming major tourism conferences where they can share knowledge but also learn from international experts,” Mr Spellicy said.

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