Tourism campaign mooted

Tourism campaign mooted

29 December 2006

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Australia — A marketing campaign to bring tourists back to bushfire and drought-ravaged areas of Victoria is being considered by the State Government.

Tourism Minister Tim Holding yesterday visited the hardest-hit areas in Gippsland and the state’s northeast to hear from local business, tourism and council representatives.

Premier Steve Bracks is considering a rescue package for struggling tourism operators, including possible cash grants to tourist bodies in hardest hit areas.

The state’s high country, which relies on tourism for 60 per cent of its business, has copped a triple blow of poor snowfall, drought and bushfire.

Business in Mansfield is down 30 per cent and accommodation bookings for January are 90 per cent down on this year’s figures.

Mr Holding said a similar marketing campaign had proved successful for the Grampians after last year’s devastating fires.

He said the Government would also look at quickly reopening roads and tracks to tourist sites.

North East Victoria Tourism Response and Recovery Group spokesman Dean Belle urged the Government to offer cash grants.

“Some operators will require assistance more than just the marketing,” Mr Belle said.

“There are operators who are new, who have bank loans. They have got the bank on thephone.”

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