Bushfire victims to visit Coast

FIFTY families who were victims of the Victorian bushfires will enjoy “respite” holidays on the Gold Coast.

Mayor Ron Clarke has confirmed 150 to 200 people will be provided with the free, five-day holidays, including return flights from Melbourne to Coolangatta courtesy of Virgin Blue.

A total of 27 hotel and apartment operators across the Gold Coast will provide free accommodation.

As well, Gold Coast City Council will fund entry to Gold Coast theme parks, transfers and meals during their stay.

Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority chair Christine Nixon said the generosity shown by the Council and Gold Coast tourism operators was greatly appreciated.

A meeting on the Gold Coast attended by representatives from the recovery authority, Virgin Blue, Main Beach Travel, Gold Coast Tourism and the Council, sorted out the holiday details.

Councillor Clarke said: “I would like to thank the accommodation operators and Virgin Blue for their generous support for this most worthy program.

“I hope that in some small way the holidays will ease the painful memories of the families and they will be able to enjoy themselves while they are our guests on the Gold Coast.”

Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey said the airline was delighted to help.

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