2010 Australian Tourism Exchange // (C) 2010 Eric Rosen
More than 700 delegates from 40 countries descended on the South Australian capital of Adelaide at the end of May for this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE). Held annually, ATE is an opportunity for international tour operators and media to meet with tourism industry professionals from across Australia and learn about new products in its hospitality market, making it one of the world’s largest travel trade shows.
This year’s ATE kicked off on an especially energetic note as Tourism Australia unveiled its new multimillion-dollar, multi-year marketing campaign titled, “There’s Nothing Like Australia.” To unveil the new campaign, Tourism Australia’s managing director Andrew McEvoy, held a press conference with colleague Nick Baker, Tourism Australia’s marketing director, and Matt Eastwood, the creative director of DDB, the advertising firm that oversaw the campaign and the accompanying television commercial, in particular.
The centerpiece of the new campaign is an online interactive map of Australia featuring nearly 30,000 images and stories submitted by ordinary Australians. Each one promotes a certain destination or experience that “makes Australia a unique and special place to visit,” said McEvoy. The map will be available at both NothingLikeAustralia.com and Australia.com, which attract more than 15 million unique users annually.
When a visitor uses the website and finds an image or destination that interests them, they can click on any of several widgets that go into more detail about the particular destination, including personal stories about the place, information on transportation, accommodation and events, as well as qualified travel specialists who know the area and its offerings. Tourism Australia envisions the site as a one-stop shop for tourism information and travel booking, both for individual travelers and travel professionals.
The other focus of the campaign is a 90-second sing-along commercial spot showcasing iconic Australian settings. All the images are based on those used on the Nothing Like Australia website. According to McEvoy, more than 90 percent of Australians polled like the commercial. The reaction of ATE attendees was mostly positive as well, though slightly mixed thanks to the commercial’s saccharine tone, which has already spawned a few spoof versions on the Web.
Naysayers aside, Tourism Australia plans to spend roughly $150 million over the next three years on the campaign in the hopes of attracting travelers from growing markets like those in Asia and South America (the website will be translated into more than 15 languages), as well as new demographics in established markets, such as the 45-plus age group in the U.S.
Along with the overall Tourism Australia campaign, there were also several other notable announcements over the course of ATE. Here are some of the highlights.
South Australia’s “WOW” Factor
Holding ATE in Adelaide allowed Ian Darbyshire, the chief executive of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC), to tout some impressive figures of his own. As opposed to the 3 percent growth in tourism overall in Australia last year, the state of South Australia saw an increase of more than 23 percent, leaving its neighbors in the dust.
This increase is due to the state’s recent push to brand itself as one of Australia’s “must-see” destinations for a first trip to the country, rather than a second or third trip, and South Australia is more accessible to international travelers thanks to more international flights into Adelaide, as well as a recent cruise ship terminal enhancement and new hotel properties in the city, such as the $150 million Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The urban upgrades handily complement the SATC’s “WOW” campaign, standing for “Wine, Outback, Wildlife.” The branding highlights South Australia’s huge wine industry, the fact that the state has vast areas of pristine and easily accessible outback country and spotlights the wildlife wonderland of Kangaroo Island as one of the continent’s iconic sights, up there with Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney Harbour.
Qantas Flying High
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas, also put in an appearance at an ATE press conference to announce that Qantas will be committing $44 million over the next three years to cross-promote the “There’s Nothing Like Australia” campaign, in addition to the over $90 million the airline spends annually on marketing Australia as a destination.
His other major announcement was that the airline currently has four more A380s on order that are set to be delivered by March 2011, bringing the total number of jumbo jets to 10. Once that happens, Qantas will up its service between Los Angeles and Melbourne to six times a week and offer daily service from Melbourne to London via Singapore.
Australia’s New Luxury
The fourth major press conference at ATE was devoted to the 38 new product exhibitors this year, including new resorts and hotel properties, attractions, special interest experiences and tour operators. It was here that Tourism Australia announced the expansion of its Aussie Specialist Programme to 26,000 agents in more than 90 countries, as well as new streamlined website features for them, including online training, marketing and sales support.
The other highlight of this event was an overview of Australia’s newest luxury property, the 20-suite Saffire-Freycinet resort on Tasmania’s east coast. The resort is also part of a new association of 15 independently owned and operated luxury resorts across the country called the Luxury Lodges of Australia, which includes such high-profile properties as the new Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa in the Blue Mountains, Spicers Peak Lodge in New South Wales, The Louise in the Barossa, the Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island and Cape Lodge in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region.