‘New’ Outback tourists need to understand risks

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Roads around Julia Creek were closed following heavy rain in 2018. PIC: Supplied / ABC

With Australia unlikely to re-open to the majority of international travellers until late 2021, domestic tourism is inevitably going to become more vital than ever.

While many state and territory border restrictions remain in place, there is momentum towards further easing in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed, with the exception of WA, there remains a stated commitment to trying to have all the borders fully open by Christmas.

Yesterday, Tourism Australian re-launched its $7 million campaign urging Australians to ‘Holiday Here This Year’.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Pip Harrison, told the ABC she hopes it changes Australians’ ideas about travelling in their home country.

“We’re saying consider doing a different holiday to one you have done in the past and the Outback is just an incredible destination,” she said. “It’s something that our international tourists know and love about Australia, and we just want Australia to fall in love with it as well.”

There is no doubt that many travellers who might normally have headed overseas for a break will choose instead to get out into regional areas and do their part to boost struggling rural economies.

But it is also vital that these ‘new’ travellers fully understand the rigours and remoteness of Outback travel.

Elliott Dunn, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) emergency management coordinator for Mount Isa, told the ABC that messaging about safety needed to be at the forefront.

“We are seeing unusual numbers of tourists leading into summer — we don’t want to discourage people from travelling into western Queensland, we just want them to do their research and be informed,” he said. “We do have road closures with minimal notice, we do have a lot of small towns where you can’t get essential supplies … prepare to be a bit flexible because Mother Nature may change your travel plans at very short notice.”

With Outback Queensland prone to flash flooding and 40-degree days in the summer, tourists are being urged to come prepared.

“Be patient. These rivers come up and come down, you may be stuck in a smaller town … don’t ever try to drive through floodwaters … be prepared to sit and wait it out,” said Mr Dunn. “It will get hot, it will get very hot. It’s not unusual for us to get weeks in the high 40s … just be aware of the temperature and don’t go bushwalking in the high 40s and stuff like that.”

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2 Responses to ‘New’ Outback tourists need to understand risks

  1. I noticed that part of the add is on WA, why would you advertise for WA if you cant go to it ??? Save your money and plug states that are going to be open soon, the rest can do it themselves.

  2. WA doesn’t intend to open for at least another 2 years. That is the current ramblings of their Premier. My cousin lives there, and hears all about it on the news every second day.

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