PLEASE - Holiday at Home
10 March, 2020
- Latest News
If ever there was a time to garner support for our battered tourism industry, it's now. Our federal, state and regional tourism organisations are doing an amazing job, reacting quickly, changing tack and supporting the industry. But as a small business in the tourism industry, this is what it looks like from the bunker.
In November we were getting word from our inland operators that due to the drought, the rivers and streams in NSW and QLD were now too low to support any fishing activities. We cancelled confirmed bookings and pre-scheduled media visits. At this time, the Go Fish home office was evacuated due to an approaching fire, (our office is located west of Byron Bay). Fortunately, workstations are very portable so with laptop under one arm, we headed to sanctuary for a week.
In December, we scrambled to assist hotels and inbound agencies with relocating groups out of fire zones in NSW, VIC and SA and into QLD and Byron Bay. The demand was there but the drought and fires had already claimed a lot of our SE QLD and Northern NSW locations. As the smoke descended over Australia, eventually the tourists stopped coming and the holiday season was over.
At this stage, the insurance agencies were letting us know that our premiums would increase exponentially. Fuel costs were rising due to an international trade war and our partners, small fishing charter operators and helicopter companies were wearing the costs just to keep the doors open to tourists.
Then came the coronavirus.
Our resilience, our adapt-or-die attitudes seemed to just fall over, deflated like a balloon without air. Immediate and future bookings were cancelled, bank accounts depleted with refunds and small tourism businesses were going under faster than we could have imagined. I have been witness first-hand to disasters of many kinds that have affected the tourism industry, the '74 floods, the 2011 floods, the sars virus, bird flu, the pilot's strike, 911, tsunamis and wars and we have come through them all to remain an incredibly strong and resilient tourism industry in Australia. And we will again.
So PLEASE, Holiday at Home. Encourage your friends and family to holiday at home and inject some hope, and some cash, into small tourism businesses and towns across this great country. Here's to hanging on, to rallying round and to the strong desire above all else to believe in an optimistic future for Australian tourism.