Tourism Australia chief marketer eyes roles in media, publishing, tech industries

Nick BakerTourism Australia’s chief marketing officer Nick Baker is mulling over a number of opportunities, including non-tourism roles, as he prepares to leave the agency “in a really good place”.

Baker also signalled his last marketing push with the agency will be around Indigenous tourism.

Speaking to Mumbrella after announcing his decision to step down after seven years at TA, Baker did not rule out another tourism role but said he would explore positions away from the industry, with media, publishing, technology and health and well-being all areas of interest for the British-born marketer.

Talks are taking place over several “short and long term” positions, he said.

Baker’s stock is high after a successful stint at TA which followed a 10-year career with upmarket resort operator Voyagers Hotels and Resorts.

He joined at a difficult time for the organisation following the calamitous Where the Bloody Hell Are You? campaign which offended some markets, particularly in Asia who objected to being sworn at by a bikini-clad Lara Bingle strolling on a beach.

Baker did much to orchestrate DDB Sydney’s There’s Nothing Like Australia campaign which over the past four years has helped restore Australia’s marketing reputation, and helped swell visitor numbers.

Baker said the campaign, which has since been taken on by TA’s new creative agency Clemenger BBDO Sydney, could remain in market for at least another decade.

“The organisation has been on a hell of a journey and it’s in a really good place. It’s a fair to say we have far more partners now, people coming towards us [and wanting to partner],” he said.

Keeping all its partners happy and ensuring the relationship works for all parties remains one of the biggest challenges into the future, Baker added.

Tourism Australia logoHe said his decision to quit TA followed months of deliberation. “After seven years it just felt like the right time. We are in good shape and there is a good team, we are close to completing three major pieces of work so it was right to draw a line in the sand.”

Baker named the current Restaurant Australia campaign extension as among his proudest achievements, in which tourism officials have created a “really powerful” food and wine offering.

One of his last projects will be to oversee the creation of a video showcasing Indigenous tourism, a sector he admitted has not generated the interest it has deserved. Too often indigenous tourism conjures a “dry, dusty, hot” image while the “compelling experiences” if offers have not been captured, he said.

“It is part of the cultural heritage of Australia,” he said, adding it wants to portray the “depth” of experiences with 30-second, three minute and even 30 minutes videos. The material will be distributed through national and international partners with Baker not ruling out a paid media campaign.

He declined to be drawn on the recruitment process although he said TA was hoping to appoint a replacement before he leaves at the end of January.

Steve Jones


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