Worker to walk full length of Australia for funds
PERSONALLY suffering from the virus pandemic hasn't stopped a Coast tourism operator from pledging to support international families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Current restrictions have left the travel industry crushed, particularly for countries whose economy relies heavily on tourism to survive.
Mooloolaba-based Chimu Adventures was hit hard by the outbreak, with its tours to South America forced to conclude for the foreseeable future.
"In what was once hailed the best industry in the world to work in, travel has suddenly turned into the ground zero of COVID-19," co-founder Chad Carey said.
"For international travel companies … there is currently no definitive end in sight for when things will go back to normal, so therefore we have no revenue essentially because nobody is booking a holiday right now."
While the operator has relied on government relief programs such as JobKeeper to keep its employees, Mr Carey said business owners in other countries were not as fortunate.
"In third world countries and where a lot of our partners are that operate the trips we do, there isn't that safety net government support, or not to the same extent that we have here," he said.
"It's having a pretty dire impact on people in those places and it's getting to the point now where a lot of them would be struggling to feed their families."
That is why Chimu's relationship manager James McAlloon has pledged to take footsteps for food.
The Coast man intends to walk the full length of Australia, from Broadbeach to Bunbury in WA, to raise funds for struggling communities in South America.
"It's always something I've wanted to do, but I never expected to do it at least for a few years, and now I get to do it with the full support of Chimu," he said.
"It's been a really good catalyst to give back, especially considering that only a little bit does quite a significant amount in a third world country."
Although current travel restrictions could halt Mr McAlloon's journey, he said he would do whatever it takes to help those in need.
"I'd definitely want to cross Australia, but I'm not going to just call it off because of restrictions," he said.
"I'll walk around and around in my back yard if I have to, the aim here is to complete footsteps for food. That is my ultimate pledge."
Mr Carey said supporting international countries' economies as well as our own was vital in ensuring the travel industry can reboot after coronavirus.
"If we can't help these less fortunate people in some of these locations, then there's possibly not going to be anything to go back to," he said.
"We now need to band together to protect the entire infrastructure and the people within it to give us all cause for hope and the ability to recover quickly."
Although coronavirus has caused a number of job losses across the country, Mr McAlloon encouraged Coast residents to give what they could to the cause.
"I understand not everyone can give right now but even a little bit can go a long way, and if you're in a situation where you can't donate, I'd love for people to share the journey and hopefully we can make a bit of a difference," he said.
Mr McAlloon plans to begin his journey on July 1. To donate, head here.