With the recent escalation of the fires and mainstream media coverage Destination Gippsland has activated its Regional Tourism Response and Recovery Plan. This process will provide co-ordination and assist Local Councils, industry and government agencies to manage the tourism impacts of the fires across Gippsland. This role includes:
• Consumer and industry communications
• Media liaison (State and National)
• Government and emergency services liaison (Gippsland and State level)
• Monitoring regional economic impacts and longer term tourism response efforts
Information for our visitors – it is important that we help our communities and visitors feel well informed. We encourage our industry colleagues and Visitor Information Centre’s to proactively manage forward bookings, especially for the March Long Weekend. We recommend responding to any visitor queries by clarifying your location in relation to the fire activity. You may wish to consider calling or emailing any forward bookings with this information by way of reassurance. It is critical visitors feel well-informed and that you can direct them towards sources of accurate, up-to-date information in order to make their own, informed travel decisions.
Social Media sharing – it is recommended that we do not share snapshot alerts from Vic Emergency, but send our visitors to the website or app directly. Facebook algorithms often show these posts very late or not at all causing incorrect or out of date information to be shared. We suggest any posts should focus on official information sources and convey that our emergency services are highly experienced. Keep messages informative and try to avoid emotive language (e.g. “scary”, “I wonder what’s happening out there?”, etc.) and images of fire that may be misconstrued. We will also continue to talk about what visitors can do (which is the majority of Gippsland that is not directly impacted by fires).
Emergency contact details - it is important that we refer to the most reliable information sources when communicating with our industry and visitors. To stay informed please go to:
• Vic Emergency Hotline – freecall 1800 226 226
• Vic Emergency app
• Facebook or Twitter (#vicfire)
• Local radio ABC 100.7fm (Latrobe Valley) or 828 am (Sale)
• Parks Victoria - www.parkweb.vic.gov.au
• Vic Roads - www.trafficvicroads.vic.gov.au
• Public Transport - https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/
Understanding the legal obligations - All businesses should have a cancellation policy and be familiar with their legal obligations. For those not familiar Consumer Affairs Victoria have developed resources to assist businesses developing a cancellation policy and understanding the legal obligations. https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/products-and-services/business-practices/contracts/guidance-for-tourism-businesses.