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Australia tourism struggling under fire pressure

Our cousins over the ditch are engulfed in flame and Australian Federal Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says it's having an effect on the country's tourism.

Speaking on Adelaide radio station FIVEaa – Mornings with Tony Pilkington yesterday morning, Simon says the bushfires are taking a toll on the Aussie tourism dollar, especially in areas where tourism is a high earner, such as Adelaide's Kangaroo Island.

"Tourism is Kangaroo Island’s number one income earner and was worth around $126 million to the island in 2018.

"Premier Steven Marshall says he’s keen to emphasise that of course, not all of the island is burnt out, that there are still many attractions and that when it is safe to do so, we hope people will continue to support those businesses, those parts of the island as we all then work together to ensure that we rebuild the other tourism assets, particularly those around Flinders Chase National Park that have been burnt out and make sure that they are even better assets and better experiences for visitors into the future."

Approximately five million hectares of Australian land has burned, leaving 25 people dead, more than 1400 homes destroyed and hundreds of millions of animals dead.

Simon says the fires reach is widespread and is affecting domestic and international tourists.

"As the Federal Tourism Minister, I’m incredibly mindful that so many of the locations in New South Wales and Victoria are also major holiday spots, particularly for Australian travellers at this time of year, but also that internationally we’ve really got to be looking at the impact of the coverage of these bushfires on our tourism industry and how it is that we make sure that international visitors understand that right across this vast country of ours, there’s still many wonderful experiences to be had and that the worst thing that could happen for both fire affected communities and non-fire affected communities would be for visitors to not come and therefore prolong the pain hurt for those communities just as they seek to rebuild."

He says Cabinet is planning to rebuild tourism infrastructure to make it better than it was before the fires.

"It’s about everyone pulling together, and, at the Cabinet level, we'll be discussing the direct financial support but also then as we look to ensure that tourists keep coming into the future, the type of work we’ve got to do in our international marketing and initiatives to make sure that we’ve got the infrastructure, the businesses, the community support but also the messaging internationally to keep the tourists coming into years to come.

"To make sure the experiences, once rebuilt, are even better into the future than they’ve been, as magnificent as they have been over the last few years."

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