It was back in January that Tourism Australia first launched its ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign to support the industry in its recovery from the impacts of the summer bushfires.
The campaign was intended to be rolled out throughout the year; however, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold globally and travel came to a complete standstill, all of Tourism Australia’s campaign activity was subsequently paused in March.
But while activity was paused, the organisation was quietly working behind the scenes to stand ready for the relaunch of Holiday Here This Year as soon as the time was right and once restrictions had begun to ease.
A total of $7 million was invested in the latest phase of the campaign, launched in October, to encourage Australians to holiday domestically and not only enjoy Australia’s incredible tourism offering firsthand, but also help to kickstart travel and support our industry in getting back on its feet.
And, at the centre of Holiday Here This Year’s relaunch are two of Australia’s most iconic homegrown personalities, Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said the Aussie power couple were specifically selected for their “incredible” authenticity as well as their passion for travel and desire to give back to the community.
“They are also a great creative fit, with the ability to effectively deliver the right balance of humour, emotion and national pride for this campaign,” she said.
Harrison also noted Blake and Foster-Blake’s prolific domestic media profiles and significant social media following (1.9 million followers across Instagram collectively) were an important factor in their recruitment.
“Alongside this, the couple resonate with a really diverse section of high-value travellers across a wide demographic, from young people to families and mothers through Zoe’s lifestyle influence and Hamish’s TV and radio shows over the past 15 years,” she added.
It turns out that Blake and Foster-Blake have delivered in spades, with the latest campaign iteration reaching over eight million people on Tourism Australia’s social media channels, and over four million through its TV ads in the first two weeks’ alone.
Furthermore, Holiday Here This Year 2.0 has generated 1,300 pieces of media coverage worth $8.3 million in equivalent advertising value, and travel search engine Skyscanner reported a 19 per cent increase in search for domestic flights during the week of its launch.
Additionally, a survey by Tourism Australia found that more than 50 per cent of Australians said the campaign made them more likely to consider taking a holiday this year.
While the organisation has traditionally been about attracting overseas visitors, Harrison said Tourism Australia’s focus right now remains firmly focused on driving domestic visitation to key tourism destinations and experiences to support the many communities and businesses that rely on important tourism dollars.
As she highlighted recently at Travel DAZE 2020, there is an “opportunity of a generation, almost” to show Aussies amazing things to see and do in their own backyard.
“I don’t think we’ll stop people going offshore – we are a nation of travellers – but I think we can show people that you can have an incredible experience here too,” Harrison said.
“And I think we have really open ears with the Australian consumers at the moment for that.”
Tourism Australia has recognised the value of travel agents in attracting offshore travellers towards domestic holidays and experiences, adapting its online training platform accordingly.
Since launching the Aussie Specialist Program in May, more than 2,000 Australian agents have already qualified under the program and are listed on Tourism Australia’s website.
More broadly, there has been a strong uptake of training since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which has boosted overall numbers for the year with Tourism Australia having trained a cumulative total of 80,000 agents face-to-face and via webinars through the Aussie Specialist Program, compared to 34,000 in the previous financial year.
There are now roughly 36,000 registered and 27,000 qualified Aussie Specialist agents globally, along with 2,000 qualified domestic agents.
“Tourism Australia plans to continue supporting agents through the Aussie Specialist Program to ensure we have a knowledgeable team of advocates to connect travellers both in Australia and overseas with Australia’s incredible tourism experiences,” Harrison said.
To sign up for the Aussie Specialist Program and make the most of the domestic travel goldmine, click HERE.