Down Under Tourism: Never Underestimate the Power of Crocodile Dundee!
with Vickie Sam Paget
Robert Keddy, head of commercial partnerships for the Americas at Tourism Australia with Michael Mullin, sales executive for Western Canada, Tourism Australia.
Jane Osbourne, travel agent at Down Under Travel and Ginger Blum, travel agent at of North South Travel.
Lori Mezzomo, destination specialist at Downunder Travel and Coral Perry, Canada BDM for Fiji Airways.
The Carlson Wagonlit crew: Travel counsellors Naveen Bhatnagar, Frist Hartono and Anuj Singh.
Stephen Whiteside, wine guru and beverage director at Aburi Restaurants checks out Australia—virtual reality style.
Travel professionals from across the Lower Mainland were treated to some traditionally casual Australian wining and dining at The Loft at Earls in Yaletown this week.
Aussie meat pies and fine Barossa wines were on the menu as Tourism Australia updated Western Canada’s industry specialists on all the latest news from Down Under.
Not only were the wines and pies incredible, but the latest industry news coming out of Oz was pretty amazing too.
Arrivals from Canada are up by 8.7% (that’s 173,200 visitors for the 12 months running up to March 2018), and total visitor spend from Canada has increased by a whopping 16% to $780 million.
“Canada has been doing extremely well,” explained Robert Keddy, head of commercial partnerships for the Americas at Tourism Australia. “48% of our visitors from Canada are first-time visitors. That also means that 52% of them are returning. That tells me that Australia as a bucket-list, once-in-a-lifetime destination is not the case anymore. We have repeat business.”
It’s great news for agents, who see an average booking value of nearly $5,000 per passenger -- a figure that Keddy says is increasing year on year.
The Australia tourism industry is certainly flying high at the moment, so what’s its secret weapon? Rather surprisingly, it could well be 1980s movie icon Crocodile Dundee!
Following a lot of media hype about the making of a sequel of the 80s’ flick, Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home, Tourism Australia aired its ‘Dundee’ advert during February’s Super Bowl.
The ad revealed that Dundee:The Son of a Legend Returns Homeisn’t in fact a movie sequel, but a star-studded advertising campaign. Starring Danny McBrideand Chris Hemsworth, with a cameo from the late Paul ‘Crocodile Dundee’ Hogan himself, the 60-second commercial revealed the big joke to viewers.
“It was shown to 103 million people,” added Keddy, “And since the ad was run we’ve had 100 million views on social media. We saw a five-times increase in Canadian traffic to Australia.com and site engagement is up 24% t. So Canadians are interested in Australia—and hopefully that means an increase in your business.”
He also reported that more Canadian agents are getting wise to selling Australia.
“We relaunched the Aussie Specialists program almost two years ago and I’m very happy to report that Canada has reached its 1,000thagent -- we are actually at 1049. It’s extraordinary because that’s a 38% growth in this last year.”
Lindsay Fichaud, general manager, Kieren Elliott, operations manager and Alexandra Roper, marketing manager—all of Flight Centre.
Serving up the Aussie meat pies.
Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent
Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.