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MEDIA RELEASE – Bangalay Luxury Villas spearheads recovery of South Coast tourism economy



Bangalay Luxury Villas + Bangalay Dining have partnered with Empty Esky and AAT Kings Travel to create single and multi-day tours from Sydney to assist the recovery of the bushfire affected NSW South Coast economy.
Empty Esky is a national movement which encourages individuals and groups to “grab an empty esky, embark on a road trip to a fire-affected town (when it’s safe to do so) and stock up with produce and wares from local traders” to support local businesses impacted both directly and indirectly by the Australian fires. AAT Kings Travel will provide coach transport from Sydney to the NSW South Coast to assist with the initiative.
While Shoalhaven Heads remains pristine and intact with excellent air quality and less smoke haze than metropolitan Sydney, local businesses are still feeling the impact of the most hazardous fire conditions in the region’s history.
“The fires and their devastating damage to the environment, communities, animals and human life are the first wave of the crisis. For local businesses, the resulting economic downturn is the second wave,” says Michelle Bishop, Shoalhaven Regional Tourism spokesperson and owner and proprietor of Bangalay Luxury Villas and Bangalay Dining.
“Most local tourism operators were unaware of the online travel industry’s loophole which enables cancellations via their incident response teams outside of the accommodation providers own terms and conditions. This caught many operators off guard. Business interruption insurance can only be claimed when roads are closed so our situation was not something we could insure against.
“I’m delighted to announce our partnership with Empty Esky and AAT Kings Travel to bring Sydneysiders to our beautiful region and inject much needed spending into our local economy. Many of our small businesses are family owned and rely on the summertime peak-tourism season to survive during the quieter times of the year. The bushfires have made it impossible for these businesses to operate and generate a living.”
“I encourage everyone to visit www.emptyesky.com.au and get behind their wonderful grass roots call to action which will make a significant difference to businesses in towns both directly and indirectly affected by the bushfires.”
Prior to the fire situation deteriorating in late December, Bangalay Luxury Villas had projected 90% occupancy at peak rates. The family owned and built operation suffered from approximately $80,000 in accommodation cancellations during the two week prior to Christmas with a further 25 booked guests requesting date changes to later in the year. On-site restaurant Bangalay Dining was forced to close due to fire hazard warnings on two key trading occasions, resulting in a 50% drop in anticipated revenue.
Bangalay Luxury Villas + Bangalay Dining employ 45 local staff and, like so many other businesses, are now completely reviewing their business, marketing and operational plans.
“Having to design and implement bushfire emergency communications for guests, restaurant customers and staff is one example of how being resilient and fast to act helped manage a difficult time,” says Michelle.
Just a two hour journey by car from Sydney, Bangalay is a short, scenic drive from the boutique towns of Berry, Kangaroo Valley, Kiama, Gerroa, Gerringong or further south to the white sand beaches of Jervis Bay.
The South Coast region is a year-round destination where visitors can indulge in excellent local food and wine offerings, unwind at picturesque beaches, explore charming villages or challenge themselves on walking tracks to be rewarded by breathtaking panoramas stretching from countryside to coast.
For further information or to request imagery please contact Michelle Bishop, General Manager at Bangalay Luxury Villas, on 02 4448 7729 or email michelle@bangalayvillas.com.au
www.bangalayvillas.com.au  I  @bangalayluxuryvillas  I  @bangalaydining
www.emptyesky.com.au  I  @emptyesky
www.aatkings.com  I  @aatkings



What is the air quality like?

During summer Shoalhaven Heads has a consistent north easterly breeze which has meant there are have been very few occasions when smoke has affected the air quality. There is an app which can be downloaded to assist in receiving information regarding this

Will I see burned trees if I visit Jervis Bay?

No, the fires did not affect any of the key tourist places in Jervis Bay

Where can I volunteer or donate?

Buying from south coast businesses or visiting affected areas is the best way to assist. We also encourage people to donate to the Shoalhaven Council Mayoral relief fund. Visit emptyesky.com.au for further inspiration.

Are you receiving government assistance?

At this stage we have been communicating with all levels of government and understand that there will be a rolling response. As should be the cases, the government’s immediate funding priority is directly impacted households and businesses. We welcome the immediate action taken by the federal government to provide additional funding to Tourism Australia and the States to promote domestic visitation.