Tourism Australia begins shoot for $40m aquatic and coastal marketing campaign

Tourism Australia has started filming at some of Australia’s most iconic coastal areas with the material set to form the central pillar of its next major marketing crusade.

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Production crews will visit 12 coastal and aquatic sites across Australia as the tourism agency looks to combat the competitive threat posed by rival destinations vying for the tourism dollar.

Tourism leaders admit Australia has lost ground to rivals in recent years, with research finding Google searches for Australian beaches and the Great Barrier Reef have tumbled 10 per cent.

A Tourism Australia strategy video outlined it as a “concerning trend”.

Chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson told Mumbrella: “We know that aquatic and coastal is an area where we have a great perception globally and when people come here their experiences are even better than they expected.

“So we know it’s a real strength.

“But the searches were going backwards and we felt we needed to bring the product to the fore in terms of our marketing. It has formed part of campaigns before but we have never had it as the main focus. It has not had the prominence that the research and data showed it probably should have.

“This is about playing to our strengths.”

Filming began at Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory last weekend before moving to the Great Barrier Reef.

Other locations on the nationwide tour include Kangaroo Island, Whitehaven beach and Lake Burley Griffin in the Australian Capital Territory, while swimming with dolphins and soaring over the 12 Apostles in a helicopter will also be showcased.

A multi-platform marketing campaign will launch in January with a $40m roll out across China, US, Japan, UK and New Zealand.

States and territories, who are responsible for domestic marketing, will be able to use material for Australia-based campaigns.

The focus on Australia’s coastal and aquatic areas, a plan revealed by Mumbrella earlier this year, will aim to re-establish the strength and appeal of Australia’s aquatic and coastal areas in the fiercely competitive tourism space.

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The campaign will be supplemented by a three-part documentary fronted by David Attenborough that will air in December. 

The tourism agency ploughed $1.5 million into the content marketing venture which saw the iconic natural history presenter visit the Reef for the first time in years.

Of the 12 sites providing the marketing collateral for the coastal push, three are in Queensland and three in South Australia, with one each in the remaining six states and territories.

Ronson said Tourism Australia asked each state and territory to draw up their own list of aquatic and coastal scenes before it was whittled down to the final 12.

“We wanted to make sure we had enough diversity. We needed great urban and regional content and landed on what we feel is a really solid set of experiences to sell the country,” she explained.

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Ronson denied the selection process caused tension as tourism bodies fought for inclusion in the final list, stressing that all states and territories understood the need to promote a diverse product range.

“There were no heated exchanges but there was good back and forth discussion with all the right intentions,” Ronson said. “We came at this from a customer centric viewpoint. We wanted to show them how it would feel to have a holiday in Australia and worked back from there.

“The states and territories bought into that and realised it would work well for everyone if we got it right.

“It’s all about communication, collaboration and relationships.”

Ronson added that Restaurant Australia will continue to form an integral part of Tourism Australia’s marketing mix.

The 12 sites to feature in the marketing campaign are: Great Barrier Reef, Gold Coast beach and Whitehaven (Queensland), Lake Burley Griffin (ACT), Sydney Harbour and surrounds (NSW), Katherine Gorge (NT), swimming with dolphins and swimming with sea lions (South Australia), Three Capes Track walking (Tasmania), 12 Apostles (Victoria) and Fremantle, Cottesloe and Rottnest Island (WA).

Steve Jones 


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