The Australian tourism industry is suffering in the wake of the devastating bushfires with the sector taking an estimated 1 billion dollar hit as people rush to cancel their bookings.

The Australian Tourism Industry Council is reporting that cancelled bookings in some areas unaffected by the bushfires have still hit more than 60%.

Unaffected areas where more than half of booked guests are cancelling include Tasmania, central NSW, south Gippsland, central Victoria, lower alpine areas and the Murray.

When it comes to areas of the country directly affected by the bushfires, cancellations are sitting at closer to 100%.

Credit: Tourism Australia

Interestingly, many of these cancellations are coming from regional travellers rather than inbound tourists.

The Australian Tourism Industry’s Executive Director Simon Westaway said the industry needs “clear and demonstrative actions that Australia’s tourism industry – in practice and in perception – is open for business!”

“It requires substantive investment because the early signs around international visitor demand, including cancelled bookings to Australia, is concerning”.

The Australian Tourism Industry’s Executive Director Simon Westaway

He said such action includes a return role for the Federal Government in domestic tourism marketing, including through Tourism Australia on the international stage.

“Our State and Territory Governments who equally promote their own appeal to domestic and international audiences must also get on board,” he said.

“With tourism now being Australia’s largest services export  we look forward in anticipation to the next phase of proactive responses in the days ahead.”

The tourism industry is coming up with initiatives to get people back exploring Australia. This includes the Roadtrip For Good by co-founder of travel tech startup Alpaca, Zoe Manderson.

Roadtrip For Good gives businesses in fire-affected regions a platform to list that they are back open and ready for visitors. You can check out full details on the initiative here.

Let us know if you’ve heard of any great regional tourism initiatives at [email protected].