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Blue Mtns open for business after $2 million a day losses

October 28, 2013 Destination Global, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59Bushfire activity in the Blue Mountains has eased and the region is again open for business. The local tourism association, Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) advises that for the overwhelming majority of tourism operators, the risk of a major threat has been averted.

Yesterday, BMLOT chairman Randall Walker said that for tourism businesses able to operate normally:

  • There is no longer a reason for a visitor to defer their visit or to cancel and seek a refund.
  • If a visitor wishes to proceed with a cancellation, standard cancellation fees should apply.

Operators in the region were losing AUD 2 million a day while everything was closed. Walker estimates the industry was losing AUD 1.5 million a day due to the fall in visitor numbers. He told the Brisbane Courier-Mail that cancellations had compounded the figure to AUD 2 million.

“The Great Western Highway and railway line continue to be fully open and it is safe for visitors to experience the many hotels, cafes, restaurants, shops and major attractions such as Scenic World at Katoomba and Jenolan Caves at Oberon,” BMLOT said in an issued statement.

The high-traffic visitor villages of Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba are welcoming visitors. The township of Lithgow is open and Oberon remains unaffected.

BMLOT understands that a few businesses may remain temporarily closed, because they are set in the bush or cannot roster staff.

While some fires in the region continue to burn, the main visitor experiences are open and visibility overlooking the World Heritage Area is great. Tourism operators are constantly monitoring and updating the situation.

“We commend all involved in the enormous effort, thousands of volunteers and professionals,” Walker said.

“I thank all operators who have directly or indirectly supported firefighting efforts. There have been many great examples of selfless community spirit and contribution. I also thank operators for complying with the responsible advice from the Rural Fire Service”.

BMLOT will work closely with Destination NSW and Tourism Australia to implement recovery campaigns.

After speaking with operators, Walker said the following:

“So many people from outside the region have been asking ‘What can we do to help?’ We can tell them the best way they can help is ‘Spoil yourself with a short break or day trip and support the many local small businesses and employers’.”

BMLOT’s statement came as a Rural Fire Service investigation determined that an army training exercise had caused a massive fire that ripped through more than 47,000 hectares of Blue Mountains bushland.

Blue Mountains residents, meanwhile, criticised the Coalition for tightening the eligibility rules for disaster relief payments. Unlike the victims of Tropical Cyclone Oswald or the Tasmanian bushfires, the Federal Government has not offered help to those in the Blue Mountains who have been cut off from their homes or are without electricity or water.

Payments of AUD 1000 per adult and AUD 400 per child are available only to people who have been severely injured or who have had their homes destroyed or badly damaged.

Written by Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Lori Modde says:

    This goes for the Hawkesbury highlands area as well. Bilpin, berambing, mt tomah, kurrajong! People are cancelling bookings made through to Christmas, this is the time we need you to come. Please keep the tourism industry going in the Hawkesbury as it’s supports so many jobs, communities and livelihoods. On tourism dollar is worth six to a local community.

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