Tourist bookings plummet after Great Ocean Road bushfire

Tourist bookings plummet after Great Ocean Road bushfire 

01 May 2016

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Australia– Tourist bookings on the Great Ocean Road collapsed by more than a third in the first three months of the year, a new report reveals.

The financial impacts of the Christmas Day bushfire have deepened, with analysis showing advance accommodation bookings plunged by 37 per cent compared to 2015.

The downfall represented an estimated $73 million shortfall in spending, equating to about six per cent of the region’s annual tourism expenditure.

The fallout is detailed in the Wye River and Separation Creek Resettlement Plan, which is a blueprint created by State Government departments and Colac Otway Shire.

It shows that before the Great Ocean Road was reopened on January 6, coastal businesses lost an average of 30 per cent in revenue, combining for a decline around $12 million.

The plan revised down the number of houses lost in the blaze to 109, which included 15 primary residences.

Clean-up contractor Grocon expects to have all residential properties cleared by the end of June.

Damaged public infrastructure, such as roads, drainage, electricity and telecommunications, will be repaired or replaced.

“The primary objective is to restore assets or services to a condition to which existed prior to the bushfires,” the plan reads.

Agencies will discuss the potential of a long-term plan to place powerlines underground, but it is not an immediate goal.

Key public projects include:

Reinstating and reopening Paddy’s Path, which is the main pedestrian link between Wye River and Separation Creek;

Replacing water supply infrastructure at the Wye River foreshore;

Upgrading the playground at Wye River; and,

Creatinga continuous walking track along Wye River, which traverses the caravan park.

Government architects are aiming to hold an exhibition midyear for landowners, to showcase the materials and construction elements of building in the undulating landscape.

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