Mountains hit by $71 million post-fires tourism slump

Lost tourism visitors due to the October bushfires is estimated to cost the Blue Mountains economy $71.4 million, a new report has found.

The Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise-commissioned study found 371 jobs were at risk over a 12-month period due to the tourism downturn since the bushfires and there will be an estimated $17.7 million decrease in wages.

Released on December 2, the report is the most up-to-date study of the economic impact of the bushfires.

Its findings led Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill to call for a “strategic approach” to fix the problem.

“This is a double hit. We have had the highest loss of property from any bushfires in our settled history and now we have seen a dramatic impact to our economy,” he said.

“To see this many jobs lost and the amount of income decline is devastating.

“This is very hard on local businesses. These are the people who employ local workers. I am very concerned that these numbers continue to decline.

“We need the support of the other levels of government to reverse this trend. We also need a strategic approach to get visitors to return,” he said.

“Council has called on the federal and state governments to stay with us until we are fully recovered. This includes supporting our local economy.

“Through the BMEE, council will continue to monitor the problem and publicly advocate for government support of our local economy.”

Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus announced last week the Federal Government would provide $255,000 to Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism and the State Government has already announced funding to encourage tourists to visit the region.

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