TA boss: Kangaroos still have a place in our ads, despite what Packer says

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy has hit back at claims by James Packer that images of the outback and kangaroos in Australian tourism ads are tired and outdated, saying people travel to “experience difference”.  

In an article published in The Age’s Business Day last week, Packer said people who visit Australia most want to spend time in the cities and that continued use of natural attractions and fauna in marketing material was outdated and targeted the backpacker market.

“I have spent a lot of time in WA and outback Australia and I love these places. But the reality is that places like Bungle Bungles and Arnhem Land can only support and accommodate a small number of visitors. The majority of tourists want to go to man-made attractions, not the outback,” he said.

In a speech to a dinner organised by the National Tourism Alliance, McEvoy argued: “Images of kangaroos, koalas, the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, reef, Outback and Great Ocean Road might seem like a cliché for Australians, but we also show nightlife, contemporary Australian cities, and our enviable lifestyle.

“So why would we want to promote ourselves in a generic way in this increasingly homogenised world?”

McEvoy said that Australia ranked second overall in the FutureBrand study of country brands in 2010.

He added TA’s strategy isn’t only about the ads but through word of mouth, a core principle of its There’s Nothing Like Australia campaign.

“Australians are very passionate about their country and their word of mouth has resulted in 30,000 personal stories and images being uploaded to our campaign website.  These are now on show to the world to influence others to travel here,” he said.

“Traditional marketing and PR still have a place but increasingly we need to look at other ways to get our message across – whether it is on Facebook, via bloggers or advocates like Oprah Winfrey.”

McEvoy will reveal the inside story on how Tourism Australia brought Winfrey to the country at the Mumbrella360 conference next month.


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