All major tourist areas in south-eastern Australia have now reopened to visitors following the forest fires that killed over 200 people last month.
This weekend tourists were allowed back into the last of the National Parks to reopen, Wilsons Promontory, after it was deemed safe.
Tourism Victoria Regional Manager UK and Europe, Claire Golding, said: “All fires are now out or contained. Right now there’s not one product from any mainstream brochure that’s not up and running. We’re getting massive support from both federal and state governments who are pumping AUS$10 million into the tourism sector.”
Despite the scale of the fires, the main tourist areas have not been heavily affected. Fires skirted the outer edges of the Yarra Valley but left the vineyards of the valley floor unscathed. For more information on any business in the area, the website yarravalleynow.com.au has been set up to trace the recovery process.
In Daylesford, an area 60 miles north west of Melbourne popular with tourists looking for relaxation, spa treatments and gourmet food, visitors may see a small amount of fire-damaged ground but current heavy rains mean the ‘green up’ has already begun.
Elsewhere, Golding claims visitors would need to divert purposely from their usual routes to find any evidence of the fires.
In Wilsons Promontory, blazes ravaged 25,000 hectares of the park, and visitors were evacuated.
Touring trade marketing manager Ina Becker said: “The fire started at the north eastern end of the park. The evacuation was very well managed – we had a whole day to leave and there was no panic.”
Despite the fact two thirds of the park was damaged, the tourist trails are within the unaffected third, enabling authorities to allow visitors back into the park.
Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs Marketing project coordinator Tanaya Preece said: “The rebuilding is already happening. Local people are pulling together and want to get the word out tourists that it is business as usual.”
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