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Tourism Australia launches $250 million marketing blitz in China

Longitude 131: star of Tourism Australia's latest campaign

The latest phase of Tourism Australia’s global marketing campaign, ‘There’s nothing like Australia’, has been launched in China, Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable overseas tourism market.

New broadcast, print and online advertising materials were unveiled at the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in Shanghai yesterday (June 4), by the Minister for Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson alongside Tourism Australia’s Chairman Geoff Dixon and Managing Director Andrew McEvoy.

Tourism Australia will spend approximately AUD$180 million over the next three years rolling out the evolving campaign in its key international markets and in Australia.

It expects to achieve a total investment of AUD$250 million by securing up to AUD$70 million in additional funding from industry partners to support joint marketing activities, aimed at promoting Australia with a clear and consistent voice.

In addition to a new broadcast ad and print executions the campaign boasts a strong digital and social media focus, and will leverage the advocacy of Tourism Australia’s three million Facebook fans. Other elements include a new, interactive tablet app and hub on www.australia.com, to take customers further into the stories played out in the ad and provide more information on the locations.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy, said the latest iteration of the campaign builds on an already successful and established platform by highlighting some of Australia’s best tourism attractions, experiences and products that showcase why there is nothing quite like Australia.

“When we first launched ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ in May 2010, it was built to last and designed to be flexible. Now is the right time to evolve the campaign to remain competitive and long lasting in a fast-changing global tourism environment,” McEvoy said.

The campaign features many unique Australian attractions, including the Bungle Bungles in The Kimberley, Sydney’s harbour, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard and Hayman Islands, Freycinet in Tasmania and South Australia’s Kangaroo Island. Several scenes include examples of premier tourism product, a deliberate move to inspire visitors by leading with Australia’s best.

“This new campaign creative – particularly the locations and how they have been shot – clearly demonstrate Australia’s distinctive and high quality tourism products and experiences that are amongst the world’s finest,” he said.

McEvoy added that adopting a ‘world’s best in Australia’ approach would appeal to traditional western audiences but also help target Australia’s key growth markets – led by Asia – and particularly the new, rapidly expanding middle classes with money to spend and a desire to travel.

“Promoting your best attributes is a strong and proven marketing principle. By leading with Australia’s best the campaign will create a positive halo effect for Australian tourism more broadly, particularly through the digital elements which will allow us to go deeper and showcase a broader range of experiences to cater for all travellers and different budgets,” McEvoy said.

McEvoy said China was the logical location to launch the new creative, in line with Australian tourism’s transition in this Asian Century and supported by recent research, showing that Australia tops the travel preferences of its Chinese urban elite target audience.

“The primary purpose of this and indeed all our global marketing is to drive international visitation and China now represents both our fastest growing and most valuable international inbound tourism market,” he said, adding that China presented an opportunity to deliver around 900,000 annual visitors worth up to AUD$9 billion a year for Australia by decade’s end.

The campaign will start in China, the UK and USA and also run in Australia, with AUD$5 million being spent on a domestic marketing push to encourage more Australians to holiday in their own ‘backyard’.

Both the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) and Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) have welcomed the campaign.

The associations’ heads – Richard Munro of AAoA and Rodger Powell of TAA – were both in Shanghai for the launch and are optimistic of what the campaign will achieve.

“With Chinese tourists spending more than $7000 in Australia per visitor, (more than most of our leading markets), while staying longer and growing at 11% per annum, Shanghai is definitely the right place to launch the latest global marketing campaign,” Powell said.

“The campaign continues the successful brand strategy first launched by Tourism Australia in 2010 which has the strong support of the industry.

“These latest, highly aspirational, creative materials are both inspirational and moving, giving the industry confidence the campaign will be able to cut through to potential visitors in key markets where we are competing with bigger spending destinations.

“Along with great video there is an exceptional app that consumers can download for free, social media, short films and new content on Australia.com.

“It is great that we are staying the course with this campaign and consistently building a competitive brand at a time when competition has never been greater,” he said.

Munro said he was optimistic about the impact the latest phase of the campaign in China would have on the Australian tourism and accommodation industry.

“The Association is always supportive of measures which aim to market the unique attractions of Australia and bring more visitors to travel here for holidays and business, and we are pleased that the Government has made such a significant investment of AUD$180 million over the next three years to roll out the campaign,” he said.

“Consistent with Australia’s tourism transition in the Asian Century, we are seeing a growing trend in Asia’s expanding middle class travelling abroad. We are delighted that this campaign will show this vitally important market all that Australia’s tourism and accommodation operators have to offer them and entice them to come and experience Australian hospitality.

“We note that this comes on top of the Government’s Asian marketing focus, with its investment of $61 million over four years in the Asia Marketing Fund, which aims to support the promotion of Australia to growing markets in Asia as a premium holiday and business travel destination.

“We are also pleased that this expanded campaign will also run in the UK, USA and at home in Australia, and hope that the campaign inspires holiday and business travellers in these international and local markets to travel and stay in Australia,” he said.

New figures released yesterday (June 4) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show visitors to Australia increased again, up 1 per cent in April 2012, compared to April 2011.

China provided most of this growth with a 34% increase in April 2012. China is Australia’s third largest market in terms of arrivals and largest in terms of tourism exports.

Strong growth in visitor arrivals also occurred from South Korea (up 17 per cent). Arrivals from Japan also rose, increasing 16 per cent, showing that the market is improving following the March 2011 tsunami.

Speaking at Tourism Australia’s launch in Shanghai, Australia’s Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, said the continued growth in Asian tourism and business travel was offsetting declines in visitor arrivals from traditional markets.

“So far this year arrivals from China have increased 15%, on top of the 52% growth between 2008 and 2011,” he said.
“Over an extended period we have seen declines in traditional markets, such as the UK and Europe, however this has been balanced by consistent growth in Chinese visitors,” he said.

Arrivals from the United States showed a solid increase of 8% in April 2012 compared to April 2011 despite the sluggish US economic recovery and strong Australian dollar. Arrivals from the United Kingdom declined 29% consistent with a weak economic environment.

“To encourage further growth, the Australian Government and Tourism Australia will invest more than AUD$13 million this year marketing to China. We are also investing tens of million of dollars in TQUAL Grants projects to ensure continued improvement and innovation in our tourist attractions.”

The recent growth in Australians’ overseas travel slowed in April 2012, down 4 per cent in April 2012 after rising 10% in the 2011 calendar year. While this was the first decline in thirteen months, strong growth remains evident for Australians travelling to leisure destinations such as Thailand, up 12% for the month and 19% for the calendar year to date.

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