By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism
Official regional tourism organisation Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) has proactively made recommendations to its members in response to projected changes in weather conditions.
After a tourism-specific briefing session at the Blue Mountains Fire Control Centre at Katoomba on Sunday afternoon, on behalf of BMLOT chairman Randall Walker immediately issued recommendations to tourism operators including:
– That no bushwalking activities take place and no operators take guests into the bush
– That accommodation providers offer guests a deferred visit option
“The risks we face over the coming days should not be underestimated,’’ he said.
“It is our paramount mission to ensure that no visitors to our region are injured due to bushfires.
“Therefore, following a NSW Rural Fire Service briefing today and mindful of the State Of Emergency now in place, we have taken this very serious step.’’
Mr Walker said that members of the tourism industry, which was one of the major employers of the region, had been among the approximately 200 families who had lost their homes including a BMLOT director, tourism business owners and staff.
In the Lithgow area, Zig Zag Railway had also lost assets.
“We also express our deep thanks to all volunteers fighting the bushfires, protecting lives and property and providing support services, including many tourism industry people,’’ he said.
At this point in time, NPWS has closed parks. Only the major lookouts on the southern side of Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba with vehicular access remain open.
Echo Point Lookout and the Blue Mountains City Council Visitor Information Centres at Echo Point, Katoomba, and Glenbrook also remain open.
Tourism businesses such as Scenic World in the popular villages of Wentworth Falls, Leura and Katoomba remain open for visitors and are on standby for an escalation of fire threat.
The bushfire situation in the region may continue for a few weeks.
Please continue to monitor public information via www.rfs.nsw.gov.au and download the RFS “Fires Near Me NSW’’ phone app and listen to ABC radio 702 for fire bulletin updates.