Guest Comment

Guest Comment
By admin

In a week’s time, Tourism Australia will do something it has never done before; launch a major global consumer marketing campaign outside of Australia.

Our decision to unveil the next phase of our There’s Nothing like Australia campaign in Shanghai in China – our most valuable and fastest growing international tourism market – may surprise a few people.

But it really shouldn’t. After all, the primary purpose of Tourism Australia’s global campaigns is to support Australia’s most important services export by driving international visitation and increasing tourism spending.

The real test and true success of our global campaigns must be in how they perform in key international markets, appealing to the right audiences where the greatest tourism growth opportunities exist. Australians, I would argue, are the hardest critics on Australia. Whilst this is borne out of their passion and pride, research tells us that their views are not shared around the rest of the world, who regularly put our country at the top of their wish list.

In my last formal trip to China I dined with a prominent travel agent who was passionate about Australia. He asked where else in the world can a country meet the three staples for a Chinese traveller – good Chinese food (think our seafood), excellent and affordable shopping experiences (think our capital city megaplexes) and unique, iconic and safe natural environment and man-made leisure experiences (think a Sydney Harbour Cruise and the Opera House).

More than 540,000 Chinese visited Australia during 2011, just short of 20% growth off 2010. This year that number will exceed 600,000, both groups and, importantly, repeat, experienced and adventurous travellers.

Not only are the Chinese visiting in record numbers, they are spending at record levels. Current overnight expenditure from China is up 15%, to $3.8 billion per annum.

And there’s a great deal more to come. More than just growing the numbers, Tourism Australia is focused on growing the economic contribution that they deliver, and encouraging dispersal to regional Australia.

We believe the Chinese market for Australia has the potential to grow to up to $9b by 2020 – something few would have predicted.

Tourism Australia will next year commit more of its international marketing dollars to China, but will also still strongly support vital traditional markets.

Research we commissioned by the well-respected GfK Blue Moon indicate that the biggest opportunities for Australian tourism to tap into China’s increasingly affluent and travel hungry middle and upper classes is beyond Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to secondary cities, the names of which may not be familiar; Chengdu, Tianjin, Chongqing and Wuhan.

The great news is that Australia is their most desired long haul destination. Importantly, it also identifies a high degree of consistency in consumer behaviour and trends across China’s largest primary cities and these emerging secondary cities. That is an immensely exciting, if initially daunting prospect for our industry.

The response in China to ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ has been better than anywhere else overseas, with over 90% of those who see the campaign researching a future trip to Australia. Coming off such a solid platform, we are confident that the evolution of the campaign with new creative, using rich digital applications and modern, relevant images of Australia, will continue to hit the mark in China.

With more than 100 National Tourism Organisations active in China, launching the latest new creative phase of our campaign directly to the world – in China – will also help create greater ‘cut through’ in what is a cluttered and highly competitive market.

We will of course undertake significant Australian domestic campaign activity and you’ll get to see the new broadcast ad on TV, in the cinema and online and in new media platforms at the same time we do the big reveal in Shanghai.

A new dawn brings with it a new way of thinking – and action!

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