The ongoing bushfire crisis has taken its toll on Australia, causing unprecedented amounts of damage, straining emergency resources, and significantly disrupting the tourism industry, as the raging bushfires that have plagued the island continent since September continue to spread.
In response, travel companies from all over the world have come out in force to provide aid to the embattled destination, to help get it back on its feet.
Here’s a summary of what travel companies are doing to help Australia.
United Airlines will be donating $250,000 to a GoFundMe campaign that talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres, has set up to fund disaster relief for fire-stricken Australia. The “Ellen DeGeneres Show” announced the campaign to raise $5 million to aid in relief efforts, earlier this month.
The airline will also be matching up to $50,000 in donations made to the Australian Wildfire Relief Fund, created by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network. This fund will support immediate relief efforts for people impacted by the fires, in the form of emergency supplies like food, water and medicine.
American Airlines donated $100,000 to the Australian chapter of the Red Cross, to help Australia recover from devastating bushfires. “We are all affected by the heartbreaking images of the wildfires in Australia,” said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines. “American is proud to do what we can to assist in the recovery."
Delta Air Lines
In support of the Australian Red Cross, Delta will contribute $250,000 to the American Red Cross for immediate disaster response and humanitarian relief to help those affected by the devastating bushfires.
“The record-breaking bushfires have been devastating for many Australians, and Delta has partnered with the American Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross to target resources to help provide immediate assistance to those areas hardest hit,” said Tad Hutcheson, managing director of community engagement, at Delta Air Lines.
Qantas, Australia’s national carrier, announced that it will donate nearly $687,000 to the bushfire relief and recovery efforts. The airline added that its Los Angeles team is also working with U.S. aid agency, Direct Relief, to get 100,000 donated masks to the bushfire-affected communities in Australia.
The Virgin Australia Group, in partnership with the Salvation Army Emergency Services, announced it will be encouraging donations from customers through its lounge network with donation terminals, and will match all employee donations made to the Salvation Army Emergency Services on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to $171,800.
The Singaporean flag carrier announced it would donate around $68,600 to the Red Cross’ Disaster Relief and Recovery appeal in order to support communities across Australia devastated by the recent bushfires.
The airline also announced it would continue to work with its alliance partner, Virgin Australia, and other key stakeholders across the country to lend further support to bushfire appeals where possible.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line’s Australia branch has pledged $350,000 to support the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. This is in addition to the $50,000 that P&O Cruises Australia and its guests combined to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in December.
Carnival Australia is the parent company of P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard and Holland America Line.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings dedicated $250,000 to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. The company operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.
“We are saddened by the devastation caused by the ongoing bushfires in Australia,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., in a statement. “Our $250,000 donation to the Australian Red Cross will go directly to relief and recovery efforts for those affected by these historic fires.”
The expedition cruise line, Hurtigruten, launched its own fundraising initiative, collecting $250,000 to be donated to support bushfire recovery.
“The impact of these bushfires is unprecedented. It is heartbreaking to witness the loss of life, as well as the devastation of habitat and wildlife on such a scale. We believe it is important that we all take part in the global and local effort to support Australia’s recovery,” says Damian Perry, managing director, Hurtigruten Asia-Pacific.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Cruise & Maritime Voyages helped raise a total of $10,070, which was donated to the Australian Red Cross in December. The Cruise line is also pledging $10 from every booking made in January to the Australian Red Cross.
Hotels and Tours
Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton invited its loyalty members to join its own fundraising initiatives, after donating $50,000 to the Salvation Army. The hotel group will also allow Hilton Honors members to collectively raise a further $100,000 more for the same cause via a points-matching campaign.
Marriott International has pledged to donate free room nights for fire service volunteers and departments nationwide. It will also help facilitate additional donations by allowing customers to cash and convert Marriott Bonvoy points into cash to donate to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.
Individual Hilton hotels nationwide will also be promoting their own fundraising initiatives.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific donated $30,000 to aid the Australian relief effort. In addition, the company is also offering free holidays at Mt. Hotham – Dinner Plain, to volunteer firefighters from the County Fire Authority, who have been battling the blazes for months.
InterContinental Hotel Group
InterContinental Hotel Group, through its partnership with OzHarvest, has responded to a request from the food redistribution organization to provide 500 meals, which have been collected from Crowne Plaza Canberra and the National Convention Centre and delivered to Bega on the New South Wales south coast. In addition, the company has donated to the Australian Red Cross and is working to assist hotels to facilitate paid leave for employees wishing to volunteer time to the recovery effort.
The Travel Corporation
The Travel Corporation is supporting Australia by donating $100,000 towards the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, which is the lead combat agency for bushfires in New South Wales, and directly benefits volunteer firefighters.
Australian Hotel Association
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) partnered with Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), to donate $250,000 to the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal. The group said further support from individual state organizations would be forthcoming once threats have subsided and the full scale of the disaster was more evident.
“The tourism industry is of vital importance to regional NSW and we hope this donation will help regional areas get back on their feet that little bit sooner,” said Michael Johnson CEO of TAA.