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(Australian Associated Press)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has praised the White House for revising a warning for travellers to Australia.
The United States is one of the top source countries for tourists to Australia, along with China and New Zealand.
But last week the State Department published a warning saying tourists should “exercise increased caution” when flying down under.
The advice has now been changed to “exercise normal precautions”.
Mr Morrison thanked US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their urgent intervention in the travel warning.
“That’s one that particularly needed my intervention and I was very happy to do that,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
Mr Morrison said whether Australia had the capacity to welcome tourists due to the bushfires had frequently come up in conversation with world leaders.
“There’s a bit of a misconception overseas that the entire continent has been affected,” Mr Morrison said.
“You can still go swimming on the reef, and still be visiting Kakadu.”
He said Australian embassies and Tourism Australia were “actively involved” in briefing foreign governments on travel advice for Australia.
The federal government will meet with Australian tourism operators on Friday to discuss what can be done to help them.
The Australian Tourism Industry Council welcomed the prime minister’s intervention, saying it was necessary.
Executive director Simon Westaway said the perception abroad was most of the country was inaccessible or impacted by fires.
“Brand Australia has taken a hit,” Mr Westaway told AAP.
“It’s just been very difficult to have a consistent narrative on us being open for business.”
Mr Westaway said Friday’s meeting should not only review the direct impact of the fires on tourism, but also secondary impacts, like regions that rely on travellers passing through for cash flow.
“We need to look at all the different levers to get stimulus going,” he said.
The NSW government announced the main road from Canberra to the NSW south coast will reopen on Tuesday, encouraging tourists to visit the area.