The Rebuilding Has Begun

Sam Hayward — 1 March 2020
An open letter to our industry partners

Dear industry partners, colleagues and friends,

We have all been moved by the devastating bushfires and weather events that have destroyed homes, forests, farms, townships, infrastructure and cost the lives of people and animals across Australia this summer. We have especially been moved by the extraordinary efforts of our firefighters and emergency services personnel to keep us safe and to protect our property, as well as the efforts of volunteers and the defence force to provide us with sustenance and safe sanctuary in face of these threats.

The scale of this disaster is immense: 7.5+ million hectares (larger than Benelux countries) have been burnt. These are regions where many Australians holiday and adventure, particularly over the summer holiday period. And of course these regions are home to some of us too.

For many of these regions it is tourism that is the backbone of their economy and the very reasons that attract us to holiday in these places may have been impacted severely by the bushfires.


We have been asked by many people “How can I help these devastated townships and regions?”


Firstly, it is important to understand that the bushfire threat is not yet over for some regions. It is still unsafe to travel to a number of these regions (some hamlets still remain cut-off), however, the rebuilding effort aided by some heavy rain has meant that a number of townships and regions have reopened for business. 

We have been in touch with many of our regional partners and clients. They would desperately like to have you visit their region once it is safe to do so and once they are back up on their feet and open for business.

The economic impact of the fires is significant for regional areas across the country, both those directly affected but also those in similar regions where travellers have become nervous about travelling remotely. This provides a challenge for our regional partners where some are desperate for your tourism business today, while some are just not ready (or safe) for visitation. Tourism Australia and the federal government in collaboration with the states have recently released funding in the order of $70 million to help revitalise the regional tourism and have also published a map (available here) to provide a list of regions that are open (or closed) for business.

This campaign has begun in earnest from both federal and state levels which has been inspiring to see. Two such campaigns are:

Holiday Here this Year - released by Tourism Australia

#BOOKTHEMOUT - driven by SA Tourism

We will be working with individual regions to support their efforts once we have a deeper understanding of their needs and focus in the wake of the fires. 

How do we as a business help in these times?

The Emprise Group via our brands Hema Maps, Caravan World, Camper Trailer, Outdoor, Trade-A-Boat, TradeRVs will continue to publish content on where and how to travel in Australia. We are in discussions with various affected regions and industry partners (including the CMCA) and we will avoid promoting travel to destinations that are affected by the bushfires and not yet open for business as best we can. Our vision to be the “Number One guiding partner for Adventures” means that as soon as it is safe and reasonable to do so we will encourage you to travel to and support these areas and work with the local regions to get them back on their feet and firing.

We will be working closely with our regional partners and operators to highlight their “Open for business” status and to put them literally on the map via One project which is in the works for 2020 is the new edition of the Victorian High Country which has had significant areas impacted by the fires. The GIS / Mapping team has already analysed the affected region and is now starting to re-map the areas to make the most up to date offroad and outback tracks and POIs. Click here for a link to the affected mapping regions.

In the meantime here is a list of relevant national and state resources, which provide you with up to date warnings and conditions on where and what is safe. 



Tourism Australia Travel Alerts


Visit the Country Fire Authority website; Download the VicEmergency App

Traffic Updates via - VicTraffic App 


NSW Fires Near Me website and app; 

Traffic Updates via Live Traffic NSW 


Visit the Tasmanian Fire Service website; Connect on the Tasmania Fire Service Facebook page

Traffic Updates via TasAlert website


Check the South Australian Country Fire Service;

Traffic Updates - Traffic SA website


Visit Emergency WA


Visit the Queensland Government Rural Fire Service website; 

Traffic Updates QldTraffic website



The following organisations and charities are seeking cash donations to provide relief and help to firefighters, wildlife and those who are in need of shelter, food, water and emergency cash grants.

Victoria’s Country Fire Authority

NSW Rural Fire Service

Australian Red Cross

St Vincent de Paul Society

Salvation Army

Bendigo Bank Bushfire Disaster Appeal (Vic)

Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund



World Wildlife Fund



Firstly: Check to see if the region is safe and open for business:

Secondly: If possible don’t cancel your reservation, reschedule it.

Thirdly: Donate to support the emergency services; the victims of the bushfires; the re-building programs or the wildlife support organisations.

This is not the first, or the last, natural disaster the Australian regions will face and as many commentators have suggested we will see the true grit and resilience of the communities show through as they rebuild their towns and their economies. But they will need our collective help.

Let’s get as many of these regions and their operators #openforbusiness.


Thank you,


Sam Hayward


Emprise Group Holdings


News Industry