Tourists encouraged to continue enjoying Margaret River in wake of devastating bushfires

Taylar AmoniniAugusta Margaret River Times
Crews attend to the Treeton Bushfire.
Camera IconCrews attend to the Treeton Bushfire. Credit: Sean Blocksidge/DFES

Summer holidaymakers are being encouraged to continue to visit the Capes, as town leaders assure visitors Margaret River is safe despite the recent string of bushfires.

The call comes as the local tourism industry fears collapse as the physical and emotional effects of two December bushfires create a quieter atmosphere among the Capes.

On December 8, a blaze tore through the Leeuwin Naturalise National Park, burning 8000ha of land to leave the famous Boranup forest in ashes.

Deliberately lit, the blaze continues to burn in the forest as firefighters work to distinguish the now significantly smaller fire.

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Shire of Augusta-Margaret River chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown reassured visitors the popular tourist town remained safe and secure, encouraging them to continue to venture down south.

“We’re doing all we can to assist those businesses affected by the recent bushfires and encourage them to reach out for assistance whether that be from us or helping them contact the State Government,” she said.

“Despite the fires, our region is a safe place to holiday, it’s definitely still open to tourists and we encourage and love for people to still come a visit.

“There is still plenty to do and see here despite the fires and as long as visitors and holidayers are doing the right thing - keeping an eye on emergency notices, staying in approved accommodation and camping sites - they will continue to have a wonderful experience and support those struggling following the fires.”

On Boxing Day, a second deliberately lit fire started north of Margaret River at Cranebreak Pool campgrounds, burning 90ha of land before being extinguished two days later.

Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association co-chief executive Sharna Kearney echoed the Shire’s sentiments as her team worked with the State Government and tourism businesses to ensure the industry remains strong throughout 2022.

“People need to throw their Support behind the operators now more than they ever have,” she said.

“The caves, Mammoth Cave especially, are untouched by the fires so you can still get the same beautiful experience that you always would have.”

Ms Kearney said while booking numbers had not changed significantly since the bushfires began, the town was quieter.

“Visitors are a little concerned of the fire area and whether it’s safe or not and one thing that does make it so beautiful is the lush forest surrounding the area which now is gone,” she said.

“It’s upsetting because a lot of visitors are unsure of what’s open because they hear other places in the area are shut so assume everything is.

“They have this overall perception of what to expect rather than going online and actually checking what’s available.”

Going forward the focus of the Association, Shire and local businesses is to ensure fire damaged areas are suitably rehabilitated and managed.

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