There’s Nothing Like Australia

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

It almost goes without saying that there’s nowhere quite like Australia. For anybody who has been there you either love it or hate it. This headline is being used to launch Tourism Australia’s new 90 second advertisement to persuade us to visit the country.  So far so good. It’s the rest of the advert that seems to have upset some Australians.  And in saying “some Australians” I mean the media and probably some groups who cringe at what it is that attracts tourists to Oz, because the majority of Australians probably don’t worry about it one way or the other.

What’s so upsetting? The Sydney Morning Herald questioned it by starting an article “What the bloody hell are they thinking?”  after a headline that read “Stone the crows, are they fair dinkum about this flamin’ ad?” So what’s the problem?

The problem is that some people claim that it portrays an Australia from decades ago, a place with koalas, Uluru (Ayres Rock), the Barrier Reef, the Sydney Opera House and the bridge, beaches (though maybe not with a piano on it!) and kangaroos in the outback.  Critics said that the people in the ad were bogans,( a term similar to chavs) and that they were not typical. One person on the Sydney Daily Telegraph website claimed that , “you don’t need the same old opera house, koala and kangaroo to sell Australia.”

Sorry chum, but you do. Tourism virtually has to pander to people’s preconceptions. You can introduce visitors to other less well-known features later but staple but iconic features are always the visitor seducer. At least for the first trip.  In the US and Australia I have been surprised in the past by advertising to the UK that used bowler hats,  Cotswold villages, kilted Scotsman, Welsh ladies in black coned hats,  castles and the monarchy. It isn’t what we think of as the modern UK but it is what sells. You could say that Australia has good and a wide range of different cuisines. So does Amsterdam, Paris and Singapore. That’s not a distinguishing feature.  You could say that that it has breathtaking scenery but so could Columbia, South Africa, Uganda and Pembrokeshire.  You could say it has culture but so does Venice and Edinburgh. What you need is something that stands out. Like the opera house in Sydney, kangaroos, koalas, a harbour bridge and mateship. Because that is what people see in films and TV programmes.

If I was the Aussie tourist board, I’d be delighted regardless of whether the ad was any good or not. Why? Because people are talking about it, writing about it and watching it to see what the ad is like for themselves. And that means publicity. And that’s where tourism starts.

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