Australia’s top American economic and cultural diplomacy push, G’Day USA, will be toned down in light of the bushfire crisis and focus on raising relief funds while also repairing the nation’s reputation as a tourist destination.
The G’Day USA gala in Los Angeles on January 25, attended by A-listers from entertainment, commerce and politics, will be lighter on glitz and glamour this year, with the focus on raising money for the American Australian Association’s Australian Bushfire Relief Fund, sources close to the event said.
The multi-day G’Day USA event – organised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Tourism Australia, Austrade and Qantas – will also have a pared-back media contingent. However, events with business leaders and trade officials will go ahead.
Australia’s government and tourism industry delegation will focus their briefings on repairing Australia’s credentials as a tourist destination, after terrifying images of bushfires in the NSW South Coast and Victoria’s Gippsland region were splashed across newspapers and television bulletins worldwide.
Tourism accounts for about 3 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product and almost 5 per cent of employment. Americans are among the top overseas visitors to the country.
The US State Department issued a travel advisory last week for citizens visiting Australia to “exercise increased caution” when travelling in the country, putting it on the same level as protest-hit Hong Kong.
But the department downgraded that overnight on Monday to “exercise normal precautions” after Prime Minister Scott Morrison raised the matter with his US counterparts. The US maintained a “Level Two” warning for some fire-hit areas.
Mr Morrison on Tuesday welcomed the move and said Australia was “very much open for business”.
Source: Thanks smh.com