THE people of Bicheno are not going to let five days of turmoil derail a whole summer.
Residents and businesses have declared the East Coast town open for business to lure visitors back for the crucial summer trading period.
East Coast Regional Tourism Organisation chief executive officer Stuart Perry said that tourists had cut their holidays short in the wake of the 4000-hectare bushfire that tore through the region south of Bicheno on Friday and Saturday, destroying five properties and closing the Tasman Highway and Coles Bay Road.
But Mr Perry said that the attractions that brought people to Bicheno were still there.
"The surf is still rolling in, the penguins are still coming to shore, and our businesses are all operating," he said.
"We can't do much about the people who have had to cut their holidays short.
"But rest assured, Bicheno is very much open for business."
Mr Perry said that January- February was a crucial time for tourism and hospitality businesses in the region, who rely on summer crowds to get them though the quiet winter period.
"This is the time that the East Coast does business," Mr Perry said.
"People leaving or staying away has a detrimental effect on local shops and operators, which trickles down through the whole community.
Glamorgan-Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart supported Mr Perry's message yesterday.
Cr Cadart also added that referring to the incident as "The Bicheno Fires" had been harmful to the town.
"The fires were not in Bicheno - it was south of Bicheno," Cr Cadart said.
"The township was not affected physically by the fires, but it is where people are associating the danger."
Yesterday, Bicheno residents discussed the possibility of a community fundraiser on the Australia Day weekend.