$800,000 plan to lift tourism

UP to $800,000 would be spent on luring tourists back to bushfire-ravaged parts of Tasmania, under a plan being considered by the state government.

Tourism Tasmania has requested extra money to market the areas damaged by fires last month, as well as cash to help businesses that were cut off by road closures.

The Examiner  understands the marketing campaign alone would cost $700,000 to $800,000.

The request is part of a broader submission to cabinet from the Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts Department.

A government spokesman said the funding submission, received yesterday, was still being considered as part of the statewide relief effort.

``The state government is committed to supporting businesses and communities affected by bushfires. To date, more than $7 million in state and federal grants have been distributed to bushfire-affected communities,'' he said.

Meanwhile, tourist operators wonder how long they will have to wait.

Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said other states that had dealt with such disasters had made it clear what economies needed to recover.

As well as specific marketing, Mr Martin wants any business that lost money as a result of the fires to receive financial assistance.

``Certainly, they need to get that marketing campaign out to encourage visitation as soon as possible,'' he said.

``Ours isn't the only industry experiencing pain but the issue for us is that the fires hit right at the peak of the tourist season, and a large number of businesses are struggling as a result.''

Tourism Tasmania has already run a week-long campaign after the bushfires to encourage people in the state to visit the impacted regions with advertisements in newspapers, on radio and television.

Last week, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called for an emergency bushfire relief fund to be set up for small businesses that had been physically or commercially damaged. He made the call while he was one of the worst-affected areas of the state.

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