Tourism Australia pushes major cities as Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake return

Tourism Australia’s focus has turned to cities, with ambassadors Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake exploring the dining, entertainment, retail and cultural offerings in Australia’s capitals in a new integrated campaign.

The new activity comes in response to overnight trip expenditure decreasing by 34% across Australia in the year ending September 2020, a loss of $27.1 billion compared to the previous year. Major cities including  Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth experienced the most significant decline.

Tourism Australia chief marketing officer Susan Coghill, told Mumbrella the new campaign following Blake and Foster-Blake’s holiday reflects the next chapter in the tourism industry’s recovery.

“We are really excited to share this next instalment of the ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign with Hamish and Zoe,” Coghill said.

“We’ve now taken them out of their house when they were doing their holiday planning in the first phase of the campaign, into our amazing cities where we see them experience the joy of being out and about once again.

“Our job of creating desire and demand for travel continues to be more important than ever, and as part of this effort we need to rebuild confidence in our cities. The industry has worked so hard to provide such wonderful safe experiences for visitors, and it’s a privilege for us to be able to showcase these experiences to Australians.”


Consumer confidence in the tourism market has slowly begun to rise after sudden border shutdowns in response to Sydney’s COVID-19 threw Christmas travel plans into chaos. Tourism Australia’s most recent travel sentiment data from February found that 59% of Australians are thinking about or actively planning their next holiday.

Speaking at an event for Nine in February, Tourism Australia’s managing director Phillipa Harrison said as well as a consistent, federal approach to border regulations, Australians also need to get comfortable with living in a “COVID-normal environment”.

“Politicians are reflective of their constituents, if you like, so they are listening to their medical advisors but they’re also listening to public opinion and I think we have a job to do to move public opinion from being that we must live in a COVID-zero environment to being living in a COVID-normal environment where we live with this thing,” Harrison said in February.

“I think if there was more community acceptance – because somewhere along the way it went to eradication, right, and that was never the intention – and I think if consumers or if constituents are happy living with some higher level of risk then I think that there would be more [motivation] for the states and for the federal government to be… less reactive.”

The latest iteration of the Holiday Here This Year campaign – which first launched in January 2020 in response to the bushfire crisis – comes after Blake and Foster-Blake kicked off their ambassadorship for Tourism Australia with a campaign that tapped into lockdown stir-craziness and the overuse of Zoom to encourage people to book a holiday ‘for Australia’.

Harrison added that with international borders remaining closed, the major cities need support from Australians “by booking a city escape, which in turn will help to support the thousands of city-based hotels, restaurants, bars, cultural attractions and experiences that rely on tourism for their livelihoods.”

“Our cities are the key international gateways to Australia and transit hubs for travellers, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been hit the hardest in terms of tourism spend, hotel occupancy and aviation capacity over the past year,” Harrison said.

“While our international borders remain closed and travel restrictions continue to fluctuate around the country, our cities run the risk of continuing to bear the brunt of this pandemic despite offering so many incredible, safe experiences and being more affordable than ever.”


The ‘City Escapes’ campaign is rolling out on TV, print, online, on social media, through content partnerships, search, radio, cinema and outdoor. Key partners of the campaign are Qantas Holidays, Mastercard, Ticketek and Group. The Tourism Australia COVID travel portal is still operating to provide consumers with the latest travel advice and holiday inspiration.

Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan, said: “Every dollar spent on a holiday in  Australia is a dollar that supports a tourism job and business and helps support our wonderful tourism sector.

“So now is the time to book a holiday to explore one of our major cities, and experience the world-class accommodation, attractions, dining and culture on offer.”


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