COVID-19 and bushfires provide the worst of times for tourism

Woman in home office
Kushla Gale

We have seen what the bushfires and COVID-19 have done to the country but another threat is lurking in the wings. Climate change.

Kushla Gale is a regional tourism and events officer who works for a consultancy that writes strategic tourism development plans for regional destinations and events.

“Obviously, tourism and events are two of the industries hardest hit by COVID-19 – the first to be shut down, and probably the last to open up,” said Ms Gale.

“I don't think anyone in tourism predicted this or how bad the bushfires would be and how much they would affect tourism. And few of us have done enough risk management planning.”

While the impact of COVID-19 and the bushfires are a shock to the industry, Ms Gale says the risk of climate change also needs to be addressed.

“We have the capacity to address climate change if all of us and our leaders would only see it as the threat it really poses to us all.”

She suggests asking your representatives and other community leaders to act to significantly reduce carbon emissions; and implementing meaningful actions in your work and life.

“According to the IPCC, we only have ten years to halve emissions before global heating is both irreversible and exponential (and we all learned what exponential means this year). Annual carbon emissions are down 5.3% because of the COVID-19 crisis such as the ban on flights, but we need to reduce emissions by 7.6% every year for ten years.”

Ms Gale is, however, happy with some of the government’s actions.

“I'm very grateful for the Jobkeeper and Jobseeker payments provided by the federal government to support workers in the tourism and events industries.”

“I expect the government will support tourism and events with grant funding in coming months, but I wish it was now as now is the ideal time for strategic planning, event revitalisation, and new product development.”

Kushla Gale graduated from a Bachelor of Business in International Tourism Management at Southern Cross University in 2017.