Australia suspends ad campaign

Grey kangaroo in Australia
Australia's wildlife is a key attraction for tourists

Tourism Australia has suspended an advertising campaign promoting the country as a destination, as bushfires continue.

The body said that most areas were unaffected and urged travellers to seek weather updates and speak with local tourism operators for advice. 

Phillipa Harrison, managing director, Tourism Australia said: “Like all Australians our sympathies go out to the families and communities who are impacted by the fires, and our gratitude grows stronger by the day for the front line services facing the fires head on.

“Whilst bushfires continue to impact parts of Australia, many areas are unaffected and most tourism businesses are still open. It is more important than ever that we rally around our communities and the tourism sector who may have been impacted.

“We would encourage all travellers coming to Australia to seek the most up to date information prior to departure, and remain informed about changing conditions whilst on the ground.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office told travellers: “Authorities in some regions have declared a State of Emergency and ordered road closures and evacuations. Poor air quality can occur some distance from the sites of the fires and provoke respiratory conditions. If you’re in or near an affected area or planning any travel, stay safe, monitor TV news, radio and social media channels for updates, and follow the instructions and advice of local authorities.”

The campaign was aimed at UK visitors, with traveller numbers to Australia falling 4% to 714,400 in the 12 months to the end of October, driven by uncertainty around Brexit. It features Kylie Minogue singing a song with the stanza: “Negotiating tricky trade deals is a shocker/But look there’s a quokka!”