Chair of Tourism Australia, Tim Fischer has marked Tourism Australia’s second anniversary by acknowledging its recent successes, saying much had been achieved since the new body was established on 1 July 2004, replacing the former Australian Tourist Commission. “It has been a busy and challenging first two years but Tourism Australia has delivered much, with more in the pipeline,” Tim Fischer said.
“Tourism Australia’s `So Where The Bloody Hell Are You?’ campaign is generating real momentum and getting people around the world excited again about visiting Australia.
“The initial success of the campaign reflects 12 months of solid work at Tourism Australia led by the research and marketing teams, along with our global partners M&C Saatchi and Carat, backed up by the strong support of Tourism Minister Fran Bailey, both here and overseas.’
“Web visits are up more than 70 per cent since the campaign was launched, with China now dominating the on-line response as the campaign rolls through Asia.
“So Where the Bloody Hell are You?’ has generated millions of dollars of extra publicity and has been warmly received by our industry partners and local communities around the world.
“The TV ad was recently judged as one of the 30 best ads of the last 50 years by the Australian advertising industry and the ad isn’t even shown in Australia.”
The new ad has also lived up to a strong tradition in tourism marketing for Australia, joining Hoges’ `Shrimp on the Barbie’ in the top 30 and being one of only three ads, including the Hoges ad, that were developed by government agencies to make the top 30.
“However, our runs on the board are not just about new ads. Tourism Australia has taken a strong leadership position by setting out a clear strategy that focuses on increasing tourism spend and spread - a major shift for the tourism industry, that has often been criticised for chasing `profitless volume’, Tim Fischer said.
“Tourism Australia’s strategic focus is about generating a more sustainable demand that delivers better yield for operators and seeks to spread the benefits, creating tourism opportunities beyond the major gateways.
“This is achieved by positioning Australia as a destination that is valued by visitors for the quality of the experience - not the price of the ticket. There will always be destinations that are closer and cheaper than Australia.
“For us to be competitive we need to compete on the terms that suit us. Australia is a quality destination that offers a valuable experience to travellers on all budgets - we need to promote it as one.
“Our focus has also meant increasing our commitment to our big markets - our top seven - that deliver more than two thirds of the tourism business. Within this group we have made a major investment to secure our base markets in Japan, the UK, New Zealand and the US, realise growth opportunities in China and Korea, and add to our dispersal performance through an increased focus on European markets - especially Germany.”
The White Paper funding of an additional $235 million provided by the Australian Government two years ago, has delivered Tourism Australia with many new opportunities and we have moved to capitalise on these opportunities. Highlights from Tourism Australia include:
* We are back on TV in Japan for the first time in seven years and have the resources to implement Minister Bailey’s Action Plan for Japanese tourism to refresh Australia’s positioning in this critical market as a quality destination;
* We are now the number one advertiser of all long haul destinations in the UK;
* Our G’day LA program in the United States has generated unprecedented publicity in that market, ensuring that for the last two years our campaigns have eclipsed the consumer response to the Hogan campaign in the 1980s;
* In New Zealand we have passed the 1 million visitor mark and are now working with more than 900 Kiwi travel agents who have signed up to our Aussie Specialist Programme in the past 12 months to encourage Kiwis to stay longer, go further and do more;
* In China, we are well positioned and enjoy arguably the best working relationship of any country in this highly regulated market with local authorities that is assisting us to frame our future opportunities by dealing with the practical issues such as visas, promotional partnerships, operator regulation and the like;
* We are taking up new opportunities in emerging markets such as India and the Gulf Countries;
* We have established multi million dollar global marketing partnerships with some of the world’s largest and most respected travel and media brands including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, American Express, Visa, National Geographic and Discovery Channel.
* We are encouraging Australians to take their holidays in Australia, by launching, in partnership with AHRI, the ‘No Leave, No Life’ programme along with supporting the key Caravan Safari Trail project across Outback Australia.
* The first Cattle Drive involving tourists and key journalists from around the world is underway again in outback Queensland and South Australia within cooee of the Cooper Creek; and major financial support from Tourism Australia - the first cattle drive post the release of the film ‘Brokeback Mountain’ with lots of interest being generated.
* Two very successful Australian Tourism Exchanges (ATEs) have been held for the first time away from the east coast, in Perth in 2005 and this year in Adelaide with many operators gaining a big boost in business that is directly attributed to the ATE forum.
* In recognition of the potential growth of indigenous tourism, the Australian Government, through Tourism Australia, has established Indigenous Tourism Australia (ITA), with Aden Ridgeway as ITA Chairman.
“We have also broken new ground in research - defining a new global target audience for Australia - the Experience Seeker - who does more and spends more,” Tim Fischer said.
“This has been supported by doubling the sample size of Australia’s two most important tourism surveys, the National Visitor Survey and the International Visitor Survey, undertaken by our new agency Tourism Research Australia in Canberra.
“Now that the campaign has been successfully launched, Tourism Australia is not taking its foot off the pedal.
“The campaign now moves into its next phase, by harnessing the support of marketing and industry partners to take our message further, revamping our vital web engine australia.com and undertaking a huge expansion in digital marketing activities.
“The Board of Tourism Australia and the Senior Management Team have worked closely with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, in particular with Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey, and previously with Joe Hockey, to make sure that Tourism Australia is a robust organisation in the very competitive world of tourism, continuing to pursue the twin objectives of increasing tourism spend and tourism spread across Australia,” Tim Fischer said.
Mr Fischer added that it has been a privilege to be Chair of Tourism Australia, with a lot of ground covered, and a lot more to be done.