The Australian government has pledged £40 million (AS$76 million) to help the country’s tourism sector recover following months of devastating bushfires.
According to Reuters, the cash boost is the government’s first push to help Australia’s £80 billion (AS$152 billion) tourism sector bounce back from the fires.
After months of hot, dry weather, which created conditions that allowed the fires to spread rapidly, rain arrived at the weekend giving firefighters some relief.
However, tourism minister Simon Birmingham said bookings from Australia’s key international markets were down 30%-40% and domestic bookings declined 70%.
Nearly 30 people have been killed in the fires, and there has been widespread damage to Australia’s wildlife and natural habitats.
Prime minister Scott Morrison said the country’s tourism sector was facing “its biggest challenge in living memory”.