11 February 2009

Tourism Australia urging tourists to continue to visit Victoria

After last weekend's devastating bushfires in rural Victoria, and this week's continuing bushfires around the state, Tourism Australia are pleading with tourists to continue visiting the safe parts of Victoria, reports the Telegraph.

After reports that the global financial slowdown is causing worry in Australia's tourism industry, Tourism Australia is doing everything it can to keep Victorian tourism afloat, particularly after the catastrophic affect the fires will have on the rural Victorian economy.

Tourism Australia have promised that Victoria's major and most popular tourist attractions are safe and unaffected by the raging bushfires, which killed hundreds of people and destroyed numerous towns.

"The majority of Victoria's popular tourist regions, including the city of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island, remain unaffected," said a spokesperson from Tourism Australia.  "We are liaising with our travel industry partners to keep them and their clients updated on the situation."

Further, the famous wine regions of Victoria are also considered to be safe from the bushfires, including the Pyrenees, the Murray, Grampians and Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas. 

The exclusion would be the Yarra Valley in the northern part of Victoria and the High Country regions.  Marysville and Kinglake – both popular tourist destinations – were hit by the fires and are not open to tourism.

The Melbourne airport is at full function, and so are many of Victoria's roads.  Roadblocks will be in place to prevent unnecessary traffic from using emergency services' access roads or driving through affected areas.

The UK Foreign Office has issued warnings to British travellers regarding the fires in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales; however, they maintain that most pre=planned holidays in the region will remain unaffected by the fires. 

For the latest information on road closures, you can visit the traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au website, and information regarding the bushfires can be found at cfa.vic.gov.au and dse.vic.gov.au. 

If you are in Australia and concerned about relatives and friends in the bushfire areas in Victoria, the following emergency helplines are available to provide information and advice:
• Bushfire Hotline - 1800 240 667
• Family Help Hotline - 1800 727 077
• State Emergency Services - 132 500

Alternatively, if you are outside of Australia, we advise you call the Australian Red Cross hotline on + 61 3 9328 3716, or the UK Foreign Office in Australia on +61 3 93283716.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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