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http://www.theage.com.au/national/a-country-in-pursuit-of-the-vanishing-tourist-20080603-2lca.html

From The Age

A country in pursuit of the vanishing tourist
June 4, 2008

Throw all the shrimps at all the barbies you can muster, those hordes of happy holidaymakers just aren't coming, writes Jewel Topsfield of the crisis gripping Australia's tourism industry.

AUSTRALIAN tourism has "lost its mojo" since the heady 1980s when Paul Hogan lured Americans to our shores with the promise of a shrimp on the barbie, with the number of international tourists flatlining.

Tourism and Transport Forum's Christopher Brown said the number of first-time holidaymakers to Australia had gone backwards in the past seven years. He accused the industry of riding on the back of the seminal Come and Say G'day campaign starring Hogan.

The only state to buck the downward trend was Victoria, with the You'll love every piece of Victoria jigsaw campaign, which was launched in 1993, "the most successful domestic tourism campaign the country has ever seen".

"For the first time ever tourists spent more money in Melbourne than Sydney last year," Mr Brown said.

The success of the Come and Say G'Day campaign — when Australia jumped from 78 to seven on America's most desired vacation list three months after its launch in 1984 — had encouraged a "cargo cult mentality", where the industry relied on advertising rather than developing new products and experiences to attract tourists.

"With the exception of Victoria, the country has sat around for 20 years waiting for another great ad to come along and save us," Mr Brown said.

The controversial So Where the Bloody Hell are You? ads, which were launched in 2006, failed to make an impact in the three countries that had most exposure to the campaign. Figures in December 2006 showed a drop in tourists from Japan, Germany and Britain.

"Where the bloody hell are you? — we're asking that of tourists at the moment," Mr Brown said.

While tourism in Asia had "gone through the roof", with an increase of more than 6% in the Asia-Pacific region in the past seven years, the number of international holidaymakers visiting Australia had plateaued, growing by just 0.35%. The number of first-time holidaymakers had fallen by 0.39%.

"We have lost market share since the Olympic games — that's shameful," Mr Brown said.

He said the Victorian campaign had been so successful because it linked tourism to events such as the Grand Prix and the spring racing carnival and a "unique cafe culture".

"Queensland has the Barrier Reef, Sydney has the Harbour Bridge, but Melbourne has things to do, not just things to look at — that's its strategic advantage," Mr Brown said.

"It's a revolution Kennett started, Bracks continued and Brumby is riding the wave of. Numerous ministers have resisted the ego pull to throw it away for the sake of it, and have stuck with a campaign which has worked its socks off."

Mr Brown said that rather than worrying about the advertising campaign, the tourism industry needed to focus on how it could offer new products, such as a "compelling Aboriginal experience"or the "world's greatest eco-lodge". "We could have a fresh ad, but if the product is dusty people won't come back," he said.

But federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said the industry's competitiveness was under pressure from factors beyond its control, including rising fuel prices and a strong Australian dollar. He said the Government would develop a national tourism strategy.

Tourism Australia managing director Geoff Buckley said Australia's brand was still strong. "Our job continues to be shifting a widely held desire to visit into actual visits, amidst an increasingly competitive and challenging international environment," he said.
 

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^^It's funny that we actually saw a marked increase in tourist spending since the Where the Bloody Hell are you campaign.

Grain of Salt.
 

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Watch it Mr Collector all the whingers that hate me for my Victorian bias will target you LOL'In any case its not that good news for the overall tourism industry.
 

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^^It's funny that we actually saw a marked increase in tourist spending since the Where the Bloody Hell are you campaign.

Grain of Salt.
Did we? What were the figures? I don't think that's true.

Anyhow, Australia needs to drop this bogan-style advertising and develop more sophisticated campaigns, in my opinion. "Where the bloody hell are you?" might appeal to some Aussies' sense of humour, but the term "bloody hell" isn't used anywhere else except perhaps Britain and NZ, so it makes no sense at all to most countries. And there's nothing funny or amusing about it anyway!
 

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^^Can't find it now. If anyone can find 2008 figures it would be interesting.
 

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Did we? What were the figures? I don't think that's true.

Anyhow, Australia needs to drop this bogan-style advertising and develop more sophisticated campaigns, in my opinion. "Where the bloody hell are you?" might appeal to some Aussies' sense of humour, but the term "bloody hell" isn't used anywhere else except perhaps Britain and NZ, so it makes no sense at all to most countries. And there's nothing funny or amusing about it anyway!
I agree wholeheartedly. That campaign came across in North America, Europe and Asia (our primary market) as agressive and angry. Even in the UK and NZ, people found it off-putting and reaffirmed the worst Australian stereotypes.

I'm sick of tacky Australiana... time to move on and stop putting ourselves down.
 

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Probably has more to do with the record highs of the Aussie dollar than anything.

Tourism related services grew 7.8% in 2006-07.
http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/C7681ACFEC530658CA25742D001621DA/$File/52490_2006-07.pdf
that and oil prices and the world economic slowdown.

we need to create some more myths as we did in the 80's.

anything to make the tourist feel superior to the locals will get them coming back.

we need to make them think we're stupid, subservient and friendly at the same time.

what about...

"experience the world that your grandparents knew when they were your age.
...experience Australia"
 

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I have an idea.

Let´s spend millions on a campagain which makes Australian people sound crass, uneducated and down right rude.

Then we can just sit back and wait as the tourists roll in...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Zealand - The youngest country on Earth campagain is brilliant.

I think the problem is that we never sell what there is to actually ´do´in Australia. It is always about what to ´see´.
 

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^ good idea, we should be curiosities!!! people like twisted things in side shows. instead of bingle, we should have an obese bloke on the beach in speedos with 2 semi naked birds feeding him grapes saying "you don't need to be a wine drinker to enjoy the pleasures of oz"...
 

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^ good idea, we should be curiosities!!! people like twisted things in side shows. instead of bingle, we should have an obese bloke on the beach in speedos with 2 semi naked birds feeding him grapes saying "you don't need to be a wine drinker to enjoy the pleasures of oz"...
We should hire David Lynch and get Naomi Watts on board.
 

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On currencies:

USD: the currency everyone seems to focus on - yes the yanks have no distinct 'cheap' factor when coming here, but what makes it worse (and this is the area governments can actually make an impact) is the cost of flying here across the pacific. It's a well documented fact that Qantas extracts enormous yields from the pacific market it dominates. US airlines are up shit creek and everyone (except for United) don't have the aircraft to offer direct non-stop services. The carriers with the aircraft and financial backing are Asian and Middle Eastern, but we don't allow these carriers to fly the pacific as Qantas is such a good lobbyist - introducing competition on the pacific would easily make Australia more attractive to yanks with cheaper fares. What percentage do yanks make up of our inbound tourism anyhow?

CAD: the loonie has always bounced 0.10AUD either side of parity for us, there's bound to be less of problem with the amount of AUD Canadians can buy with their loonie - Canada is effectively in the same boat as the US as it's so expensive to get here. Proper marketing would have an impact in Canada and the US once things get a little cheaper for them to get here.

GBP: The pomes are still getting 2 for 1. No airline issues here - in fact it will probably get better if the likes of Air Asia X start their mooted UK flights, plenty of competition. I'd say this is the area where the image which we give off in our tourism marketing where it's crucial to get it right.

EUR: Eurozone is getting 1.6 for every 1 AUD atm - effectively in the same boat as the UK. Distance and the fact that Euros and pomes like to take their holidays close to home is the main problem here and this is where marketing (proper non-beach, blondes and bogan marketing) will probably have an impact.

JPY: Japan is the world's borrowing bitch - the Nikkei rallies and sentiment increases when the Yen weakens (so they can manufacture and export more) - a weak currency for them and strong foreign currencies is nothing new to them at all - back in the 80s (after AUD float), AUD/JPY was in the region of 200 and we're at the same levels (roughly) as the early 90s when we were all the rage for the Japanese. We're trading at 100 yen today, and yeah that's expensive - but look at 160 yen for 1 Euro or 200 for 1 pound! Why are we marketing beaches, Sydney Harbour and Koalas to the Japanese when they can go to Okinawa (and not need a passport!), Ha Long Bay and go on an Indian safari (or go to Europe and actually do something completely different to what they get at home - we can't compete here, but we do compete for Japanese tourists!) where they won't have to pay nowhere near as much? We need to offer something different to the bog-standard aussie shrimp/harbour/beach/koala shite before they start coming back in droves with the current exchange rates.

NZD: Nothing new here and I doubt currency is really all that much of a put-off for kiwis.

We're a fucked up country in the sense that everyone wanting to come here needs to get a visa (for people eligible for the electronic scheme it's only $20AUD, but it's a visa and a pain in the arse no less) and is treated like a criminal upon arrival (and so are Australian citizens) - border security may be entertaining for the channel-7 slappers from suburbia who might only go to bali once in their whole life and 'holiday at home' for the rest of the time but in reality it's something that can have serious negative connotations and put people off coming here.

It's easy to focus on currency, but it is so much more broader than just that, wouldn't you say?
 

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Lets have an ad showing the murder stats of Australia, showing traffic in Sydney and Brisbane, showing pills all over bus stop seats in Fortitude Valley... showing dead bodies in the cringy parts of Melbourne... show pollution in the air, bleached coral, deforestation, dirty beaches, drunk aboriginies clunching knifes attacking locals, people having riots over different races of people, politicians in Canberra behaving like 5 year olds, polluted rivers, dead fish, dead birds, blood all over the walls, the statistics on the amount of sperm found on walkway rails, the statistics of people getting killed by bashing a vending machine so hard it falls on them, smashed boats... women getting groped by cyclists in Brisbane parks... old grannies standing on PT while ignorant swearing and shrieking kids sit... lets show videos of people getting hit by trucks as they jaywalk along main roads... lets show the statistics of the amount of tax each person must pay...

Let's show the real Australia :)
 

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Most people I know would love to visit Australia. But unfortunately it is deemed too far and too expensive, special from the East Coast. In addition most North American have only 2 – 3 weeks holiday a year, plus the fact there is so much to see here makes it very difficult.

I think until the next generation of Aircraft is available, where you can fly NYC to Sydney is 8 hours, you won’t see big numbers of American making the trip.
 

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With the "hassle" factor of new security after 9/11, the price of plane fares with the fuel costs, and the pitifully weak US dollar, none of us Americans can afford to holiday in Australia or want to go through the trouble. People are cutting trips across town, to the other side of the world, as they say in NYC, forget it!
 
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