Tourism Australia has launched its latest international marketing campaign and it is certainly a change from “Where the bloody hell are you?”
But will the inoffensive “There’s nothing like Australia” draw in the international visitors?
Tourism bosses are calling on the public to promote Australia through social networking.
The idea is that Australians share their favourite place or experience because they are the experts on what makes the country unique.
The campaign starts with a competition from next month calling on Australians to upload photos to a new website, and complete the line: “there’s nothing like …”
Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson launched the new tagline at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
“When you think about it, it is not about the Australian Government in partnership with Tourism Australia and state and territory organisations, nor with the private sector picking winners,” he said.
“It is about us as a nation giving the Australian community an opportunity to actually promote their local regions.”
Tourism Australia’s Andrew McEvoy says the new slogan has a strong impact.
“Say it to yourself. I think it is one of those lines that is true,” he said.
“It is a big idea and it will build over time. There’s nothing like Australia.”
Room for more visitors
Tourism Australia says Australia bucked the international trend during the global financial crisis and there is optimism that growth will continue.
Tourism Australia’s general manager of marketing, Nick Baker, says the number of tourists coming to Australia is solid.
“This year, for 2009 over 2008, we were flat and the rest of the world was at least a minus four figure, so we think that we are already moving into an area where we have some potential for growth,” he said.
“We haven’t actually got some figures to say what we think it is going to move up to but certainly we are looking to see growth on the 2009 figures, which was 5.6 million people.
“It depends a lot on what happens with the global economy and how it is working, but certainly we are seeing an opportunity for us to move forward and to get growth during the course of 2010.”
But Mr Baker says it takes more than just one ad to entice visitors.
“There is no doubt that you need ads to get the message out there. There is no doubt that you need something to get the emotional reason for visiting Australia,” he said.
“But what we are doing with this campaign is adding a whole lot more layers to it.
“So rather than being a TV-centric campaign, this is an idea-centric campaign, and by that I mean we have got this idea about Australians inviting the rest of the world to come to this country and showcasing what they think is unique about it.”
Test of time
Mr Ferguson says the most important thing about the new campaign is that it will last.
“Ministers and governments come and go but you have got to have a strategy that survives irrespective of a change in government or irrespective of a change in minister, and that is what today is about,” he said.
“It is about us picking up and running with it and not picking winners. We as a community will sell Australia for what it is – a unique, wonderful place.
“[We will tell the world to] actually come on down and have a look at it.”
The managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council, Matt Hingerty, has been involved in tourism for about a decade and this is his fifth campaign launch.
He says the problem with previous campaigns was not that they caused offence but more they could not last the distance of time.
“I’m not in the camp that says that they were necessarily failures,” he said.
“In polite diplomatic circles, “Where the bloody hell are you?” may have not gone down that well but the Irish backpackers loved it. It was actually a financial success.
“But the problem is we don’t stick to them.”