Towns near the Great Ocean Road are reportedly forecasting a loss of about $40 million in tourism revenue, due to the Victorian bush fires. Christmas is one of the busiest seasons for business in the region, but the fire has led to many tourists changing their plans.

The towns of Wye River and Separation Creek continue to be closed after the fire, but the nearby towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay are also experiencing loss of tourism revenue, The Age reports. Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism chairman Wayne Kayler-Thomson estimates that the Surf Coast and Colac-Otways shires will experience a 30 percent drop in revenue.

"It's a significant time of the year and it will have a flow on effect for the rest of the year," Thomson said. "It's substantially down already for people travelling along the Great Ocean Road," he added. The tourism chairman and the business owners in the region are now waiting to see if tourists will start coming back next week or if the slump will continue.

Many of the business owners in the region are already concerned about the reduced revenues. They are now waiting for January, which is the peak tourism season. Business owners had also hired extra employees, expecting a big inflow of tourists.

"Most coastal towns rely on Christmas time to take them through the winter," Surf Coast Shire mayor Rose Hodge said. She requested the tourists to consider visiting the region later in the year, to help the struggling businesses.

According to a report by Herald Sun, the Victorian bushfire was started after a lightning strike near the Jamieson Track, which is about 8km west of Lorne. The fire apparently had not spread too far by Christmas Eve, but the mountainous terrain of the region made it difficult for the firefighters to contain it.

Contact the writer at, or let us know what you think below.