Bush fires impacting Port Douglas tourism numbers


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Misleading images have been circulating online inaccurately showing burning land in regions not affected by fires such as Port Douglas. Image: Facebook.

The head of Douglas Shire’s tourism body, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree (TPDD), has confirmed that the fires ravaging parts of the country are impacting tourism to the region.

TPDD CEO Tara Bennett told Newsport that the fires are impacting tourism in Port Douglas and is already the case for international bookings in particular.

“It’s too soon to tell how much this will impact long term international visitation. TPDD is working work with inbound sellers and tourism bodies to share accurate information on the destination,” she said.

“The tragic bushfires around Australia demonstrates how susceptible visitation in the Douglas region is to external factors. 

“Without detracting from the horror that has been experienced by Australia’s people, land and wildlife, we do need to work together to reduce the potential impact on future bookings to the region,” said Ms Bennett.

She said international media coverage of the bush fires has been widespread with misinformation compounding the concerns of potential travellers.

“The region has already seen a softening in western inbound bookings, from countries such as the UK and USA, since the start of January and concerns have been raised by some of the group business that’s booked in over the coming months.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said she is inspired by the strong community spirit among Australians and those most affected as they help each other go about the painful task of recovery.

“When ready, tourism will play a vital role in their recovery.

“Port Douglas and Daintree are one of the many regions of Australia that remains unaffected by the bushfires, with tourism operators continuing to offer incredible experiences to those travelling to our region,” she said.

“The horrific and tragic bushfires are heart-breaking and have touched people across our nation and overseas.

“We cannot thank enough the courageous work of volunteers, firefighters and everyone involved in trying to save their communities. Our thoughts are with the victims, their devastated townships, as they attempt to recover from this horror. Farming communities and tragically our wildlife have also been severely affected,” said Mayor Leu.

“We know people desperately want to help and I’d encourage you to support the local fundraisers that are being organised.”

Council, meanwhile, will have collection points for monetary donations at its offices in Mossman and Port Douglas from next week, with the funds to be donated to the Red Cross.

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