The Australian Greens have called for the drafting and implementation of a tourism recovery plan as an integral part of the process of re-building areas affected by the continuing Tasmanian bush fires.
Tourism spokesperson Senator Peter Whish-Wilson stated it was imperative to not only work toward re-building peoples’ homes and essential infrastructure but also the regional economy.
“Although it’s early days for Tasmanian tourism, bitter experience has shown fire impacted areas can suffer a financial downturn for almost two years after the actual event.
“To make matters even worse the current fires are occurring during the peak tourist season.
"We’ve already heard of people cancelling visits to areas they incorrectly believe to be affected and this type of thinking has the potential to impact upon all Tasmanian tourism drawcards.
“It’s good to see the Tasmanian Government is putting measures in place now for the immediate recovery of areas suffering from physical damage, but this event has the potential to cause significant economic damage into the medium and long term for the tourism sector.
“Many operators who survived the Victorian Black Saturday bush fires subsequently went to the wall because people simply assumed the entire region had been burnt and stayed away, which caused additional financial pain to existing fire related losses.
“Luckily for Tasmania we are in a position to learn from the lessons of the Black Saturday bush fires and the subsequent recovery plan.
"An immediate response would be to initiate a state or federally funded boost to national marketing, with a clear message that Tasmania is open for business.
“Additional to this a one off subsidy on transport such as TT Line should be considered.
“Measures such as these should be examined after the establishment of a Bushfire Recovery Committee as soon as practically possible and should include representation from local operators, regional tourism organisations, Tourism Tasmania, and all levels of government.
“The Tasman Peninsula and east coast are an integral part of our tourism economy, with international drawcards including Freycinet National Park and Port Arthur. We need to get the message out that these areas are open for business.
"The Australian Greens will continue to work with the tourism industry at the state and federal level to see the sector recover, and call on all parties to support the necessary measures.”