MARGY Osmond, CEO, Tourism & Transport Forum Australia
Let’s go #stayinthebush
What an incredibly challenging month it has been for regional NSW, QLD and WA, with bushfires blazing in many parts of the country.
It is really tough time for some, on top of the current and horrendous drought situation affecting much of the country.
Like so many, my heart goes out to the families and communities who just seem to have to step up to challenge after challenge after challenge.
I was reading the other day about the amazing Grace Brennan who lives on a farm with her family 70km from Warren, NSW and who founded the #buyfromthebush hashtag. She started the hashtag in October this year to encourage Australians living in the cities to support rural towns suffering drought conditions.
As of writing this column, it has over 100k Instagram followers and has managed to breathe life into struggling businesses in the bush. In addition, there is now a sister Instagram page called #stayinthebush.
We are currently hurtling to that favourite time of year for many, and that is the Christmas and New Year break.
It is the fabulous time where we get to set the tools down, kick back, have a rest and take some much need time out with our families and friends.
Across the last few years TTF has conducted research that tells us that most people see this period as one of their major vacations for the year. The data also tells us that most people don’t tend to travel overseas. For many, it is about local trips and maybe a week away from the city.
So what about as the tourism community, we get behind the hashtag #stayinthebush?
The visit can be a day trip, an overnight stay or even just tacking off the main highway to pop into a town that you haven’t visited before.
Many families with interstate relatives travel across state lines and rather than concentrating on getting from A to B in the fastest possible time, we could take a slight detour and have some fun. Not only can we visit some gorgeous towns, but we can teach our visitors, our kids, nieces and nephews about some of the amazing stories and history that have come out of our country towns.
And for every scone, ice block, cup of coffee or toasted sandwich that we buy from country towns, there is an opportunity for everyone to give back to the bush.