AAT Kings inaugural Bushfire Relief Giveback Trip, which launched over the long weekend, was a major success. These trips will be running daily, with more trips throughout Australia to be announced shortly.
AAT’s Giveback Trips (organised in collaboration with the #EmptyEsky movement and regional tourism businesses) help provide immediate support to tourism communities affected by this season’s devastating bushfires.
The first of these trips AKA ‘Bushfire Recovery Giveback Experience: #EmptyEsky to Shoalhaven Ex-Sydney’ saw guests armed with an empty esky, ready to be filled with local produce and treats from their journey.
Guests included Jayson Westbury, CEO of AFTA and Senator Andrew Bragg.
First stop was the Kangaroo Valley township who greeted AAT Kings guests with signs in their storefront, followed by the Nowra Market Farmers Market, an indoor marketplace where all the local producers have their goods showcased for locals and tourists to buy.
There, one of the owners Jeffrey Coe and locals welcomed everyone, including farmer John Bennett, who spoke about the devastation on tourism in the Shoalhaven area due to the bushfires, which is one of the primary incomes in the region.
Guests collectively spent over $1000 at the markets that visit.
“It’s incredible to have companies like AAT Kings stepping up and delivering visitors when we need them the most. Most businesses are expecting at least 50% downturn in their annual revenue, so these trips are lifting all our spirits – not just the businesses but the entire community”.
Kristen Provest of Kangaroo Valley Pastured Eggs
The final stop was at Bangalay Luxury Villas, where guests were treated to lunch by the owner General Manager Michelle Bishop at her restaurant Bangalay Dining.
She introduced local egg farmer Kristen Provest of Kangaroo Valley Pastured Eggs who shared her heartbreaking story of having to leave their chickens behind and the downturn in business since the bushfires.
Thes trips have been developed in conjunction with local communities, with more to be announced across NSW, Victoria and South Australia across Day Tours and Short Breaks, including opportunities to rebuild communities alongside locals and farmers.
Matthew Cameron-Smith, Managing Director for AAT Kings, stated: “Having worked with Australian tourism operators for over 100 years, AAT Kings live and breathe these communities, and they need us now more than ever:”.
“We’ve worked with local businesses to bring much-needed benefit through the tourism economy directly back to restaurants, cafes, farmers markets and local stores, to help start providing immediate support to the regions that need it the most,” he said.
All Bushfire Recovery Giveback trips are 100% not-for-profit for AAT Kings, and have been designed in collaboration with the local community to inject funds into small businesses and support farmers.
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