THE hit to business in the Towong and Alpine shires due to summer bushfires will take years to fully recover from.
Our high country has been a popular summer destination for generations of families, but when the order rightly came through from fire chiefs to evacuate early in the new year and left places such as Bright, Tallangatta, Mitta and the Upper Murray as virtual ghost town there was always going to be economic carnage.
But what hasn't been widely known until recently is the blow suffered by neighbouring areas.
Tourism-related businesses in those areas put off casual staff, motels had guests cancel or passing traffic between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne simply didn't come and pubs and clubs weren't as busy as they normally would be in January.
With the recovery phase well and truly under way, businesses in the bushfire zones of Towong and Alpine are trying to get back on their feet with others also hoping there will be a bigger than usual visitation during the upcoming Victorian Labor Day long weekend and Easter.
The Andrews Labor Government has continued the momentum by announcing $10,000 funding for Towong and Alpine shires to run a business resilience program.
"While the bushfire season is far from over, it is important to start working with small businesses on the process of recovery and rebuilding," Small Business Minister Adem Somyurek said.
"These grants will help local councils and small business owners and operators to work together on planning their recovery."
But in simplistic terms if more people attend and stay multiple nights for events like the Towong and Dederang cups, Mighty Mitta Muster, Myrtleford La Fiera Festival, Bright Autumn Festival, Man From Snowy River Bush Festival or Albury-Wodonga's newly created Upstream Festival, the fightback will be under way.