Update: Australia wildfires | IMS 2020

Update: Australia wildfires


Most of you will be aware of the devastating bushfires that have affected parts of Australia, including the Victorian regional areas of East Gippsland, the High Country and Upper Murray.
The IMS extends its thoughts to all the people who have suffered loss and applauds the tireless and extra-ordinary contributions of the emergency services that have been containing the fires and protecting people.
Unfortunately some of the images shared on social media incorrectly suggest that all of Australia is in flames.  Australia is a vast country, and while some areas have experienced dreadful and challenging conditions, Melbourne and many regional destinations have not been impacted. These include the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, the Grampians, Daylesford, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, the Murray region and West and South Gippsland, including Wilsons Promontory. More distant destinations such as central Australia, Broome and the Kimberley, the far north and Tasmania have been unaffected.
The Australian Tennis Open will commence shortly in Melbourne bringing thousands of visitors to our beautiful city, and broadcast internationally. I am personally looking forward to going to some of the Aussie Open matches with friends visiting with us from the US, and together with them going to Hobart to visit the Museum of New and Old Art (MONA). So, despite what you may have read, heard or seen don’t change your plans, and I look forward to welcoming you to Melbourne in April.

Susan Davis
President, International Menopause Society

Victoria Wildfire – FAQ


The IMS has received enquiries from delegates about the impact of Australia’s bushfire season on Melbourne and the 17 World Congress on the Menopause.

Bushfires have impacted some parts of Victoria – including East Gippsland, High Country and Upper Murray regions. However, many parts of the state, including Melbourne are safe, unaffected and welcoming visitors.

Delegates visiting regional Victoria as part of pre-and-post conference touring are encouraged to seek the most up to date information prior to departure from their accommodation and tourism provider.

We’ve tried to answer the most frequent questions below, but if your query isn’t covered here please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Is the 17th World Congress on the Menopause still going ahead?
Yes! The conference is going ahead as planned and we are looking forward to seeing you there.
Are the fires threatening Melbourne?
Melbourne is not under any immediate fire threat and it is safe to travel to Melbourne. Australia, including Victoria, is a vast place. Bushfires have impacted parts of East Gippsland, High Country and Upper Murray regions which are hundreds of kilometres / miles away from the conference venue which is located in the heart of the city of Melbourne. This map shows the distances from the city of Melbourne and impacted rural locations in the state of Victoria, which is where Melbourne is located.

It’s worth noting that Melbourne to Mallacoota (520km/ 323 miles) is roughly the same distance as Paris is to Stuttgart (561km / 349 miles).

Are there regions in Victoria outside of Melbourne we can visit as part of our pre-and/or-post conference touring itinerary?
There are many regions within Victoria that remain unaffected and will continue to offer visitors incredible tourism experiences. You can visit Victoria’s latest update for a summary on regions  impacted and not impacted by the bushfires here:

https://www.visitvictoria.com/victoria-bushfire-updates

For a list of areas impacted by the current bushfires across Australia visit:

https://www.australia.com/en/travel-alerts.html.

Many regions have not been impacted to date, including Ballarat, Bendigo, the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, the Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges, the Grampians, Daylesford, Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula, the Murray region and West and South Gippsland, including Wilsons Promontory.

All international airports remain open, including those in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and are continuing to welcome international visitors. On the ground, travellers are encouraged to speak with local authorities, tourism operators and visitor information centres, for advice about local conditions and how best to enjoy their time in Victoria.

We encourage delegates coming to Victoria to seek the most up to date information prior to departure from their accommodation and tourism providers. Please also see Visit Victoria’s latest update for a summary on regions impacted and not impacted by the bushfires at: https://www.visitvictoria.com/victoria-bushfire-updates

For a list of areas impacted by the current bushfires across Australia visit:
https://www.australia.com/en/travel-alerts.html.

What about the smoke pollution, will Melbourne be affected during the 17th World Congress on the Menopause?
Melbourne was  affected by some intermittent smoke in early January, but this has cleared. The 17th World Congress on the Menopause is not until the end of April, well after the bush fire prone period.
Are flights into Melbourne being affected?
There has been minimal disruption to air travel so far in Melbourne. However, you should consult with your airline or travel agent closer to the date of your flight to see if there will be any delays due to bushfire smoke.
Will the fires be extinguished by April?
Some fires may continue in coming weeks, but autumn brings cooler weather and significant fire activity into April is extremely unlikely.

While some parts of the Victoria are currently affected by bushfires, most of Victoria and Australia has not been impacted by bushfires.  Most tourism businesses are open and most destinations are safe and unaffected.

How can I help contribute to the bushfire recovery efforts in Australia?
There are several ways delegates can show their support for those directly and indirectly impacted

by the Victorian bushfires. For a full list, please visit the Victorian Government’s website on  ‘how you can help.’

The best way to directly help the communities affected by the bushfires right now is through financial donations and when fire affected communities are ready to welcome visitors again, tourism will play an important role in supporting their recovery.

Can Delegate show their support by visiting those regions impacted by the bushfires? When can they do so?   
There are many regions now that you can show your support by travelling to, as the whole of the Australian tourism and events community is suffering the downturn in tourism due to miscommunication of the  extent of the fires.. To see what areas have been affected visit: Visit Victoria’s bushfire update .

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