The smoke across the region, the continued closure of the Kings Highway and the continuation of the Corrowan fire is sending ripples of concern across the south east. Social media is awash with images of dense smoke haze up and down the coast and health authorities are issuing warnings to those who have medical conditions that are exacerbated by smoke. While Eurobodalla Tourism is scrambling to get the message out that the shire is "open for business" their marketing is being dismantled by the continued smoke. The fact, continually articulated by the official Fires Near me that states "fire activity on the eastern side on the Princes Highway has eased, active areas of fire continue to burn. The Kings Highway remains closed between Narranghi Road and Reid Street for safety reasons", does little to provide certainty or comfort. To our west is the ACT who are the largest market for summer visitors. While the South Coast might wish for better tourism marketing the media offers an alternate view:
Above: a message delivered to the ACT by ABC Canberra social media that doesn't auger well for the South Coast summer.
ABC Canberra reports today "It's still too unsafe to reopen the Kings Highway due to bushfire danger.
"And things are looking dire for the tourism industry on the South Coast, with people starting to cancel Christmas trips or 'Coastie' graduation trips. This time of year is pretty much essential for making money in certain coastal towns.
"Other routes to the coast are still open which will add two hours to the trip. But one tourism operator says he's had up to 30 cancellations so far due to the fires." Following an announcement by the NSW Government that further local government areas can now access Disaster Recovery Grants, Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP has reiterated her calls for the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla areas to be included in the program.
“Our community has been absolutely devastated by this fire. I have been talking with businesses impacted by the bushfire and I know how much people are struggling,” Mrs Phillips said.
"The closure of the Princes Highway and continued closure of the Kings Highway has had a huge impact on businesses and more help is needed to get people back on their feet. Businesses and residents need immediate action to give them the best chance of recovery."