Tourism Australia aims to draw ‘high value’ travellers down under

In its first Canadian campaign in four years, the country is looking to entice travellers ready to make a long-haul flight again.

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Call it a “welcome back” from the Outback.

For one night, Tourism Australia projected this simple message along with some of the country’s most well-known and iconic images on buildings in Toronto’s Queen West and downtown Vancouver neighbourhoods.

This comes on the heels of its February announcement that after two years,  Australia was reopening its borders to fully vaccinated travellers.

“One of our deliberate strategies right now as we emerge from the pandemic as a destination…is using our icons to help reignite passion for Australia,” says Chris Allison, acting GM North America at Tourism Australia, adding that it’d showcased the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef and its unique landscapes and nature to grab the attention of the public and media.

The activation, by Thinkingbox, is part of a broader, “Don’t go small, go Australia” platform. And the “welcome back, Canada” campaign is also being supplemented by a Daily Hive partnership to drive further awareness of the activation. There’s a contesting component too, partnering with Air Canada to give away two business class flights from Canada to Australia.

“There’s obviously a strong cultural connection between Australia and Canada being part of the Commonwealth, so there’s a high degree of familiarity,” Allison says, adding that the visiting friends and relatives market is an important segment. What he sees as a big opportunity, however, is people willing to finally take long-haul trips like the flight to Australia after being locked down for so long and that its target segment is a “high value traveller,” someone who takes one trip outside of North America annually.

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That audience tends to skew a bit older, and a typical traveller is a 50+ bucket list traveller, of higher household income.

Allison tells strategy that prior to the pandemic, Tourism Australia marketing has traditionally been very digital heavy, and absent a pandemic, it would’ve used partners in a more traditional digital advertising market to broaden awareness of the continent.

In 2019, pre-lockdowns, Canada was Australia’s 13th largest inbound market for visitor arrivals, 13th largest market for total visitor spend and 13th for visitor nights.

However, Tourism Australia hasn’t looked to actively entice Canadian travellers on a large scale for approximately four years. It’s been working with Citizen Relations in Canada for about five years on the PR side, and Citizen made the connection to Thinkingbox for this activation.

After two years of border closures, Air Canada has resumed direct flights from Vancouver to Sydney and Air Canada direct flights to Brisbane will commence in July.

According to Tourism Australia, there were 73,000 visitor arrivals during December, down 93% relative to December 2019 – but up 728% relative to December 2020.