There is no doubt the bushfires in Australia have been devastating. We like to take the opportunity to send love and strength to those of you suffering in any way or shape.
People have lost their homes, employment or even their businesses. Disasters like this can have a direct affect on family relationships, pressure to get financially rebuilt, give extra job pressure, communications can fall apart and mental health issues can pop up.
But this is where Australia is awesome, it's a country with great community spirit. The feeling of involvement in and concern for one’s local community, not only the smaller social networks within towns, but also regions and beyond. Somehow Australia has the ability to come together and lift each other up, always moving forward like the Australian emblem represents so well with the kangaroo and emu.
Having experienced a fire threat and evacuation in 2014 in the Grampians, I have some understanding of the impact and sorrow you can experience as a start up business and as an individual. Although the fires never reached Halls Gap (but gosh did it come close!) current and forward bookings were cancelled. This resulted in financial heartache and pressure on the relationship between Rohan and myself, looking back now, I was mentally not coping all that well. BUT I learned so much.
One of the things we did was being PROACTIVE
The problem was that hundreds of bookings were cancelled. Our lack of income resulted in us not being able to pay our mortgage for the month of February 2014. The business we purchased only two years earlier nearly folded. Bless we engaged with Grampians Insurance early on, who we since have an annual meeting with, to make sure we cover everything.
I also reached out to past guests to see if they wanted to pre-purchase vouchers for future stays at a heavily discounted price.
I can only imagine the difficulties the people directly affected are experiencing. If anybody ever wants to have a chat, because they feel they need a listening ear, please reach out, sometimes that is all we need.
TRANSPARENCY AND HONESTY
From each experience we evolve and learn. Halls Gap was rated one of the highest bushfire risk areas this summer (19). Quite alarming really., but I decided to tackle this summer with honest and transparent communication to all (potential) guests. We have been keeping guests posted on weather, educating them about the Vic Emergency website and app and have systems in place, just in case.
Modern technology works in our favour and we have preset sms messages for all different scenarios. We had several meetings with management and staff, went over the emergency plans again and again, discussed scenarios and prepared ourselves to the best of our experience and knowledge. Obviously keeping the property as firesafe as possible has been a priority, with cleaning gutters and testing fire equipment being a normal part of our maintenance routine.
We feel so blessed and stoked to be able to share that the Grampians has not in any way or shape been touched by bushfires. The Grampians National Park has not been affected by any bushfires during the summer of 2020 and is open for business. The sounds of the birds, the green foliage, the majestic mountain ranges, the waterfalls, the hikes are all ready for you to come and experience. Explore this beautiful part of the world!
It has been really fun watching all the initiatives of wider and bigger industry organisations to get Australians and Internationals on the road exploring Australia.
They highly encourage visitors to continue visiting.
ENCOURAGING DOMESTIC TRAVEL #HOLIDAYHERETHISYEAR
Tourism Australia encourages people to travel domestically!
This is their message:
Over the past few weeks and months, bushfires have torn through our communities. But, through the worst, we have seen the best of Australians. Generosity, resilience and a sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of each other that can only be described as mateship. Yet the challenge isn’t over. As holidaymakers look elsewhere, the Australian communities who rely on tourism to thrive need our support. Tour guides, restaurateurs, cabbies, dive instructors, baristas, hoteliers, retailers, artists… the list is endless and most of them are good to go, ready for your visit. That’s why we’re asking everyone to get out there to see our beautiful country. Book a week or weekend away. Revisit your favourite spot or discover somewhere new. There are beds aplenty at hotels, resorts and campsites. With locals just waiting to say ‘G’day’. See Australia. Our home. Support all the incredible people who live here, because now, more than any other time, Australia needs you to say, “I’m going to holiday here this year.” So whatever you do #holidayherethisyear
They even created a virtual Facebook event, that encourages Australians, to spread the message! I am going!
ROADTRIP FOR GOOD – VISIT THE AFFECTED AREAS
If you feel you want to make a direct difference in fire affected areas this initiative will really assist. An up to date platform with destinations #openforbusiness. Places like Kangaroo Island, The High Country (Bright), East Gippsland and many other areas would be delighted to welcome you back!
We are not all in the position to travel!
@buyfromthebush showcases the beautiful things crafted in Australia’s rural communities, particularly those facing drought. What began as a simple social media campaign has become part of a larger movement towards thoughtful spending, and many communities affected by drought have also been impacted by the recent bushfires. The @buyfromthebush initiative aims to connect bush businesses with city customers to help invigorate local economies.
So take advantage.