Fires raging outside of Melbourne have failed to have an impact on the country’s tourism business.

Although the death toll from the blazes which have torn through Victoria stands at 171 and is expected to rise further, the fires have kept away from the main tourism areas and have had little effect on British tour operators’ businesses.

Premier Holidays head of faraway product David Carlaw said although the operator’s Australian programme had only been introduced within the last month he did not expect it to be affected by the fires which started on Saturday.

He added: “It is a terrible thing but it has not affected most places that standard tourists would go to in Australia.”

He added the only one of the operator’s itineraries that could suffer is the self-drive itinerary to Sydney although this could be easily rerouted.

Travel 2 marketing director Alasdair Farrimond said the operator had seen no reduction in enquiries during the last couple of days while he did not think there had been any cancellations made by customers.

A Tourism Australia spokesman said Melbourne has remained untouched by the fires while the airport has continued to work. The area’s wine regions, which drive much of its tourism business, are also currently unscathed.

A Tourism Victoria spokesman added: “The majority of Victoria’s popular tourist regions, including the city of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road, Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island, remain unaffected by the bush fires. 

“We are liaising with our travel industry partners to keep them and their clients updated on the situation. At this time our thoughts are with those impacted by the fires.”

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