With no date set for the reopening of international borders, a campaign launching today will encourage Australians to start thinking of Australian destinations for their next trip.
Tourism Australia’s Live From Aus campaign will kick off on Friday May 15 with a one-hour TV special in conjunction with The Project on Network Ten, followed by an ongoing online program in which well-known Aussies will shine a light on some of the country’s many and varied travel experiences.
The Wiggles, ‘Outback Wrangler’ Matt Wright and chef Matt Moran are just a few of the array of tourism and entertainment personalities who have volunteered their time for the campaign.
“Even though demand for travel is currently on hold and the timing of the recovery is still uncertain, it’s important that we don’t go quiet as a destination,” Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said.
“While people can’t travel right now, they can certainly dream and plan for those holidays to come,” she said. “The brands that continue to engage with their audiences in a crisis are the ones that tend to recover the fastest. Our marketing job right now is about keeping Australia front of mind for travellers by using this enforced period of self-isolation to engage with people in their living rooms, feed their escapism and inspire them to travel again once the restrictions start to lift.”
A glance at the places favoured by Australian domestic tourists last year reveals a curio: big-ticket destinations like the reef and the rock do not feature in the top 10.
Ms Harrison told News Corp the new campaign would encourage Aussies to look at those places as holiday possibilities.
“There are so many destinations across Australia that enjoy really large percentages of international visitors, places like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru and the Kimberley,” she said. “I don’t know that (Australians) understand all there is to see and do in those places as much as our international guests do, so that is going to be one of our core focuses as part of our domestic push.”
The likelihood of Australia and New Zealand forming a “bubble” also raises the prospect of competition for the tourist dollar. Could Australians be tempted to explore the Land of the Long White Cloud rather than the Wide Brown Land?
Ms Harrison said Tourism Australia was already working on its plans for the New Zealand market, but stressed that tourism between the two countries was “evenly matched”.
“Even though we’re almost 26 million people and they’re 4 million, our numbers are almost identical,” she said. “Last year, 1.3 million Kiwis came here and 1.5 million Aussies went there. Our spend was around the same and of those trips, 600,000 were leisure holidays on both sides.”
READ MORE AT ESCAPE:
10 best Aussie road trips of all time
10 incredible Aussie natural wonders
We’ve camped everywhere, this is No. 1
19 Aussie beaches no one told you about
Australian Tourism Industry Council executive director Simon Westaway welcomed the campaign, saying “we can’t see how international borders will be lifted any time soon”.
ATIC research into the current state of the industry was a “pretty sobering picture”, and in some states two thirds of tourism enterprises “are in essence closed or in hibernation”, he said.
Mr Westaway said the industry would be ready to accommodate Australian travellers, but the reopening of state and territory borders would require good communications from governments.
“There was a lot of very brisk communication to bring the shutters down, but the lifting of the borders requires really strong and effective communication,” he said. “It needs industry to be aligned and aware and across what the changes will be, because the lifting of these borders may not be consistent. There are some parts of the country that will need to lift more slowly or in a less dramatic way, and the last thing we need is travellers confused around what’s open and what’s not.”
Tourism Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer Susan Coghill said the campaign was all about bringing a little bit of Australia to people while they’re spending time at home.
“Viewing of live content across digital and social media globally has nearly tripled in the past month, while television viewership in Australia has climbed 11 per cent on last year, due to people being in isolation,” she said. “With Love From Aus aims to make the most of this opportunity and playing into consumers’ desire for positive content by filling their feeds with spectacular content from around Australia.”
TOP10 OVERNIGHT DOMESTIC DESTINATIONS
|DESTINATION||OVERNIGHT TRIPS||OVERNIGHT EXPENDITURE|
|SOUTH COAST NSW||4.6m||$2.2bn|
|GOLD COAST QLD||4.2m||$3.7bn|
|SUNSHINE COAST QLD||4.1m||$2.7bn|
Tourism Australia National Visitor Survey, December 2019