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Summer holidays plans

Popular summer holiday destinations, such as the South Coast of New South Wales, have been devastated by the Australian bushfires in multiple ways. According to Destination NSW, 12.1million tourists spent $3 billion in the South Coast region during the 2018/19 financial year, a growth of 9.1% and 12.5% respectively from the previous year. In what is such a vital time of year for tourism, the bushfires continue to cause devastation to such tourism-driven economies as the South Coast by destroying properties and rejecting tourists due to safety concerns.

Australian Tourism Industry Council executive director Simon Westaway explained that “It is still too early to fully know and assess the commercial impact, but it will clearly run into hundreds of millions of dollars over the near term.” We recently asked our Caféstudy community what they usually do for the summer holidays and if the bushfires had impacted those plans.

Unfortunately, numerous Caféstudy members have been directly affected by the bushfires and chose to stay home for the holidays, as they felt it was their safest option. Some members even outlined how they have lost their homes to previous fires.

“We are not going anywhere until the bush fire danger is over as we had a close call last week when some stupid kids let off fireworks into the bush next door. So we are staying home for the summer and maybe go away in autumn or winter, as the bush is too close to our house. Too risky.”

“I'll be staying close to home because of the bush fires this year. They were about 2 klms away at one stage. I've had my house burn down in 1994 and don't want to go through that again.”

"Bushfire impacted our plans, because earlier in the year we were thinking to drive up to Blue Mountains in NSW but quickly dropped this idea due to recent events.”

Some Caféstudy members still followed through with their plans, with one member citing the importance of visiting fire-struck regions for the local community.

“The recent natural events don’t impact it unless I can’t go because normally I book a fair bit in advance, and unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball and don’t know that these events are going to happen. I also think the places that get impacted need support financially to get back on their feet, so embrace travellers to spend much needed money to invest back into the community.”

“The fires in Camden/Bargo region may possibly affect our trip south but we are keeping an eye on that too. We will just have to take detours if safe enough.”

”Although the area we are visiting has been hit quite hard with fires recently, unless there are road closures or the fires flare again, we will be heading up regardless. I grew up in bushfire zones, so I am accustomed to the ebb and flow of it all and also know that there has been a lot of scare mongering amongst the media with regard to many of these events.”

In what is a devastating summer period for many Australians, we need to be aware of the impact these fires will have long after they’ve been put out. Many homes and livelihoods have been lost due to the fires and international tourists will be hesitant to travel to Australia for safety reasons. As Australians, we need to take it upon ourselves to plan our next holidays in a fire-struck region and help inject much needed money into these tourism-driven areas.

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