Businesses including the National Australia Bank commit to holding meetings, events and conferences in Victoria's bushfire-affected regions (AAP Image/Joel Carrett)
More than 100 businesses and sporting bodies such as the AFL have committed to hold meetings, events and conferences in Victoria's bushfire-affected regions to support local communities.
The AFL and its Victorian clubs, NAB, BHP, Tabcorp and Tennis Australia are among 115 organisations who have made the pledge, the state government revealed on Monday.
Under the commitment, the minimum time they will stay in a bushfire-affected region is two nights, and more corporate, sport and government organisations are expected to sign up in the coming days.
Victoria's bushfires have so far burnt more than 1.5 million hectares, mainly in the state's East Gippsland and northeast regions.
Premier Daniel Andrews says the blazes have "devastated communities".
"With businesses taking a massive hit during what is normally their busiest time of the year - I encourage everyone to follow the lead of these organisations and visit and spend money in these bushfire affected communities," he said.
The state's tourism authority Visit Victoria will also run marketing initiatives to promote the state's regions.
Visit Victoria is launching a suite of marketing activities to drive visitors into regional Victoria to help communities recover from the impacts of bushfires. Read more: https://t.co/Jyze423KRM pic.twitter.com/OEscYakEKv— Visit Victoria Corporate (@visitvictoria) January 19, 2020
High-profile Victorians including Rachel Griffiths, Dave Hughes, Andy Lee and Nick Dal Santo will join the effort by recording video messages to share with their social media followers.
The tourism bodies for the worst-hit regions, Tourism North East and Destination Gippsland, will also get a $200,000 grant each to assist with their immediate recovery efforts.
That can help pay for a dedicated staff member to work directly with local operators and promote them.
Bushfire Recovery Victoria chair Ken Lay said the initiatives are a good start to what will be a "long and difficult recovery process" for regional tourism businesses.
© AAP 2020