Australia bushfires coverage around the world: How major newspapers are warning travellers

The New York Times told readers to consider bringing their own smoke masks, while London's Telegraph advised its readers on cancelling their Australian holiday.

As the tourism industry estimates Australia's bushfire crisis will cost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue and cancellation rates hit 60 per cent even in unaffected areas, the world's major newspapers have warned potential visitors what to expect.

In a guide for tourists heading to Australia, The New York Times warned readers of "toxic pollution and choking smoke", noting Melbourne and Sydney's air quality had been rated the worst in the world in recent days.

"In Melbourne, people rushed to buy P2 and N95 smoke masks. People travelling to Australia should consider bringing their own," the article stated.

A Washington Post article aimed at travellers also warned about air quality, but played down safety fears.

"As long as visitors avoid the wildfire areas — and stay aware of air quality if they have health conditions that make them especially sensitive to smoke — they should be safe," the newspaper reported.

The Washington Post report quoted Sydney-based travel blogger Jarryd Salem, who encouraged Americans to continue to visit despite the crisis.

"Any potential visitors should also understand that Australia desperately needs tourism now in light of this disaster. Many communities rely heavily on tourism to boost local economies, and by choosing to visit you will help directly contribute to the recovery," he said.

London's Sun tabloid warned readers in an article headlined "Is it safe to travel to Australia?" that they should check the areas they plan to visit are safe, along with checking if tours were still operating and hotels still open. The newspaper also warned of potential water shortages in some regions.


Tourism Australia has placed its UK 'Matesong' campaign, fronted by Kylie Minogue and Adam Hills, on hold due to the bushfires.

London's Telegraph advised readers wanting to cancel their trips that they would likely lose money if they did so, as the UK Foreign Office had not changed its overall warning advice for Australia.

The article cited Sydney's air quality in particular, noting that "authorities are warning adults to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and for 'sensitive' groups, including children and pregnant women, to avoid all outdoor activities.

Major American travel publication Condé Nast Traveler urged readers to book a holiday to Australia for later in the year.

"A significant way to support Australia is by booking a holiday there later in the year to contribute to the local economies hardest hit. Choose hotels and tour operators with strong links to conservation," the magazine's sustainability expert Juliet Kinsman wrote.