Empty Esky helps Australia bounce back

SYDNEY, 24 January 2020: AAT Kings is launching Bushfire Relief Giveback not-for-profit trips starting on the Lunar New Year’s eve 24 January.

Additionally, parent company The Travel Corporation has donated AUD 100,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service to support volunteer firefighters.

Backing the  #EmptyEsky movement and regional tourism businesses in Australia, AAT Kings is inviting the travel industry and the wider community to join it on newly launched not-for-profit Bushfire Relief Giveback Experiences – a selection of day tours and short breaks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The trips are designed to help provide immediate support directly to tourism communities that have been affected by the devastating bushfires.

AAT Kings transports participants and their empty Eskies, to visit local markets, cafes and stores, where guests will have free time to wander through the town, spend with the local shopkeepers and fill their Esky or reusable bag with locally made products.

To enrich the experience, guests will also meet locals who will tell stories of recovery and share firsthand how best to help these destinations.

AAT Kings’ managing director, Matthew Cameron-Smith stated: “Having worked with Australian tourism operators for over 100 years, AAT Kings live and breathe these communities and they need us now more than ever. We’ve worked with local businesses to bring much-needed benefit through the tourism economy directly back to restaurants, cafes, farmers markets and local stores, to help start providing immediate support to the regions that need it the most.”

Empty Esky co-founder, Erin Boutros added: “Partnering with AAT Kings offers our community the opportunity to put their pledges into action and visit fire-affected towns. Since the Empty Esky campaign launched, we have witnessed firsthand the spirit of Australians. The ‘Empty Esky’ trips will lead the way in effectively supporting bushfire affected towns as they recover.”

All of AAT King’s Bushfire Recovery Giveback trips are 100% not-for-profit and have been designed in collaboration with the local community to inject funds into small businesses and support farmers.

Cameron-Smith added: “Our nation and the world have been deeply affected as we watched parts of our country and wildlife ravaged by the fires, we are so privileged to be able to take advantage of our experience & network, to facilitate bringing as many visitors as we can back to our most affected townships. Working in partnership is the best way that we know how to help, and we invite the industry to join us in supporting our fellow Australians to get back on their feet for the long-term.”

The first-day trip took place Friday, 24 January under the title “Bushfire Recovery Giveback Experience: #EmptyEsky to Shoalhaven Ex-Sydney.”

The trip blurb and outline: “Journey to Kangaroo Valley and take in morning tea at a local café, before heading to Nowra Farmers Market. The market is jam-packed with local farmers produce for guests to taste and buy and fill up their #emptyesky, knowing every cent goes directly to the growers. There will also be the opportunity to meet up with some of the community who have been affected by the bushfires, as they share stories of recovery over a locally-sourced lunch at Bangalay Dining.” 

More trips and short breaks will be announced in the coming weeks.

To make a booking – go to aatkings.com /bushfire-recovery,

About AAT Kings: Since 1912, AAT Kings as a tour operator has been helping people from all over the world discover and explore Australia and New Zealand from top to bottom on holiday options including Guided Holidays, Short Breaks and Day Tours.

Empty Esky: A successful grassroots campaign and movement founded by three friends, that inspires people to go on a road trip to the many unique Australian towns affected by the bushfires and spend their money on local goods and services to inject money back into the community – take an #emptyesky and fill it with local produce, goods and treats. Empty Esky is a simple, effective, long-term way for the public, travellers and adventurers alike, to help those towns bounce back.

TreadRight Foundation: Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, The TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit working to safeguard the planet, wildlife & people for generations to come. TreadRight’s mission is to #MakeTravelMatter through conservation, leadership and support for communities. To date, TreadRight has supported some 50 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. treadright.org

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