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Qantas severs $50m ties with Tourism Australia

Qantas has abruptly severed ties with Tourism Australia, because the airline feels the tourism body’s chairman – ex-Qantas boss Geoff Dixon – is attempting to destabilise the company.

“Qantas cannot continue to collaborate with an agency whose Chairman is a member of a syndicate committed to unravelling Qantas’ structure and direction,” the airline said in a media statement.

Dixon is part of a consortium of Qantas shareholders including adman John Singleton who are believed to be unhappy with the company’s strategic direction.

The relationship between Qantas and Tourism Australia is worth $50m over three years.

Qantas advised that it “remains committed” to supporting the tourism industry – but would do so with funds through the state tourism boards and not Tourism Australia, which is the national tourism body.

TA responded by saying it would consider the matter of Qantas’ suspension of activities later today.

Tourism Australia MD Andrew McEvoy said: “Qantas is the longest-standing marketing partner of Tourism Australia, and both organizations have worked for decades in a professional, collaborative and overwhelmingly supportive manner, all in the common best interest of Australian tourism.”

The current Tourism Australia-Qantas deal is due to expire on 30 June next year.

McEvoy said Qantas will continue to work with Tourism Australia for G’day LA/G’day USA (January 2013) and the Australian Tourism Exchange (April  2013 – Sydney) events, but would review other programs.

Earlier this year, Tourism Australia rolled out the latest incarnation of its Nothing Like Australia campaign, which cost $4m to produce.

TA is currently reviewing its global advertising account.

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