Tourism gets $76m boost after fire crisis
The Morrison government is further dipping into its $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund, announcing an initial $76 million tourism recovery package.
The initiative aims to protect jobs, small businesses and local economies by getting tourists travelling in Australia again.
Tourism minister Simon Birmingham said getting people back into fire-affected communities was crucial, as well as driving tourism across the country.
"We've committed funds out of this $76 million so that those fire-affected communities can particularly and be the only ones who get to bid to be able to get funding to put on new events, new estivals, make new installations, whether they be art installations or other attractions that can help to get people back into those communities as they rebuild," he said.
Responding to calls from the tourism industry, the package includes $20 million for a nationally coordinated domestic marketing initiative and $25 million for a global marketing campaign to drive international tourism.
A further $10 million will be provided to promote regional tourism events across bushfire-affected areas.
Senator Birmingham said some operators had recorded a downturn of bookings from overseas markets of up to 40 per cent, putting tourism and hospitality jobs at risk.
He said funding for international visits would be targeted at visiting journalists rather than celebrities.
"The funding for international visits is overwhelmingly an education piece... making sure we get the story back internationally, that Australia is open for business, that the vast majority of our nation is untouched by bushfires and that tourists can still come and have the same amazing experience in Australia that we've always prided ourselves on giving them."
Through Tourism Australia, the government is providing an additional $9.5 million for its international media and travel trade hosting program, as well as $6.5 million to support tourism businesses attending at its annual trade event.
Australia's diplomatic network is also receiving $5 million to promote the country being open for international education and exports as well as travel.
"Australian tourism is facing its biggest challenge in living memory," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
"This is about getting more visitors to help keep local businesses alive and protect local jobs right across the country and especially in those areas so directly devastated such as Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills, the Blue Mountains and right along the NSW Coast and East Gippsland in Victoria."
- With AAP