top of page
  • Staff Writers

Vic Murray tourism urges media to share they're open, it's all good

Tourism operators along the Murray River are crying out for visitors, with reduced summer bookings hampering their flood recovery efforts.

Flood-affected tourism operators along the Murray River are open for business and want to spread the word to holiday-makers.

At Echuca on the Victorian-NSW border, Campaspe Lodge owner David Connally told AAP that businesses were facing cancellations and trepidation from tourists:

"People are just unsure. If the media could start to give us some positive press that we are open and it's all good, that would be great."

The motel owner said road closure notifications were often out-of-date and flood warnings painted a pessimistic picture for tourists.

"You're driving around and the radio station is saying minor flood warnings for Echuca and downstream from Rochester, which is probably accurate as measurement goes, but not accurate by what is happening."

Mr Connally, whose motel overlooks the Campaspe River, said bookings were significantly below typical early summer levels.

"We have had cancellations for sure.
"When people Google you they're like, 'Oh gee, they're right next to the river'."

Between October and December, floods in Tasmania, NSW and Victoria have led to $477 million in insured losses across 17,200 claims, according to Insurance Council of Australia data.

Tourism operators face a third summer without a peak season since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

A Murray River Tourism Board survey found almost 80 per cent of tourism and accommodation businesses had suffered at least a 40 per cent reduction in bookings for the upcoming high season.

Board acting chief executive Will Flamsteed said tourism businesses no longer had the financial buffers to withstand the disaster and one in five had been forced to stand down staff:

"As many as two-thirds of tourism businesses in the region have only minor infrastructure damage or were not directly inundated.
"But they are severely impacted by the lack of visitors and summer booking cancellations, resulting in an estimated $128 million in lost income."

The board and the Victoria Tourism Industry Council welcomed state government assistance to date, but they have called for more support to cover lost income for cancelled bookings and public events, and to drive the industry's recovery in 2023. Council chief executive Felicia Mariani said:

"If we want a tourism industry along the Murray next Easter, we need to step up and support these businesses."

Emergency services reported a relatively settled 24-hour period overnight, with 84 requests for assistance, including 55 trees down across Victoria.

Emergency Victoria has issued a final flood warning for the Campaspe River downstream of Rochester, where no further flooding is expected.

Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus have been detected in mosquito populations in Campaspe, Horsham and Loddon local government areas.

The chief health officer has warned people in or travelling to those areas to cover-up, use repellent and remove stagnant water from around the home.

A major flood warning remains in place in northeastern parts of Mildura in northwest Victoria.

Authorities warn it is not safe to return for residents of Nichols Point, Bruces Bend and surrounding areas.


bottom of page