Why you should plan to travel to Australia NOW…

Jan 13, 2020

Long before the fires, drought and cyclones, the value of tourism to regional Australia was undisputed. With the onslaught of these life and status changing events, the viability and existence of our tourism community is at risk and the finely interconnected, vast web of small and medium enterprises that make up much of tourism and support industries needs quality tourism to Australia more than ever before.

Why?

Looking at just the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection as a small (but globally acknowledged) sample set… 19 lodges in 17 diverse regions across Australia – a continent the size of the USA, with just 25 million people.

Many of the lodges are leaders in their own right in sustainability in all its forms, a mandatory for businesses in today’s world.

But these lodges between them partner with well over 1600 tourism-based businesses supplying products and services that are clearly visible to their guests, that are part of the appeal, the delivery of real, memorable, Australian experiences. These are our expert guides, our artists, gin distillers, winemakers, organic and specialist food producers, our craftspeople… the people of our places, our storytellers. They are essential to the rich fabric of our luxury lodge travel experiences.

This doesn’t include the businesses and services that are not visible to guests – the tradies, the mechanics, the behind the scenes local businesses and suppliers.

The vast majority of all these businesses are small to medium and family owned enterprises. They contribute enormously to the sustainability of the region they are based in and beyond.

  • Economically: by generating income that is spent and paid and circulates within the community
  • Culturally: by sharing the local expertise, craft, produce and character of the place
  • Community: via employment, sense of purpose and pride; and
  • Environmentally: on too many levels to deal with here.

All are essential to the economic survival of regional Australia. The economic contribution of a single lodge impacts deep into regional communities. Positively in good times, a potentially crippling void in bad. This degree of impact is mirrored across our tourism industry.

So yes, while some areas are facing devastating bushfires, the vast majority of our island continent is safe to travel in and our Luxury Lodges are ready to welcome guests.

For those who fear this may be insensitive to those impacted and even destroyed by very recent fires, it is these people who are often the first to plead for people to not desert Australia’s tourism operators. Southern Ocean Lodge was one of our treasured tribe. We have all shed many a tear since the Kangaroo Island fires ravaged it just over a week ago. But as one of the Baillie team said to me, the outpouring of love and support has been strangely but beautifully uplifting. James and Hayley Baillie were fast to plea for people to still travel to Australia. (See their letter here). Their leadership, empathy, vision and resilience have been an inspiration to many globally and truly set the tone for how we can survive this, stronger, better, more purposeful and more impactful than ever.

Southern Ocean Lodge’s sister properties Longitude 131, Silky Oaks Lodge and Capella Lodge, along with fourteen other lodges across this vast continent, are welcoming guests daily, and operating as normal, to deliver their amazing and uniquely Australian experiences. Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is undamaged by fires and will reopen shortly.

So yes, base your decision to travel on facts around safety. A good place to start: Tourism Australia Bushfire Information.

Do keep perspective on the sheer scale of Australia, and do take out travel insurance.

And do plan to visit Australia. It is times like this when the Australian character shines through and you will receive the warmest of welcomes, deepened by the shared experience of our land – a land that we have had a stark reminder is both fragile and resilient – all the more precious to us all.

Now More than ever Australia needs you…


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