Australians will be invited to go into bat for Australian tourism as part of the first phase of a global tourism campaign that turns traditional tourism advertising on its head.
In the middle of next month the Federal Government will begin a promotion to invite Australians to upload photos of their favourite holiday spots accompanied by a short explanation of why they think 'There’s nothing like Australia' - the tagline that underscores the new $4m campaign.
It is the first time that the federal tourism organisation has explicitly asked Australians to get behind a new advertising campaign, after the polarising efforts of 'Where the Bloody Hell Are You?'.
Tourism Australia expects to upload as many as 15,000 photos to a specially designed interactive website that will build up a ’mosaic’ of Australia as told through the eyes of Australians. More than 1,000 keywords will allow prospective tourists to search an interactive map for experiences rather than mere destinations, the agency said.
And rather than impose a view of Australia from above the tourism marketers have decided to tap into what they see as an innate quality in Australians - their willingness to shout about why Australia is unique.
"Australians like to talk about why they love Australia," Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy told a press conference today in Sydney. "And while there will be some people who won’t want to talk about their favourite holiday spot I think most Australians just can’t help themselves."
Tourism Australia is hoping that word of mouth by seeding the photos onto its Facebook site and around the web, allowing people to c-opt the images and place them on their sites.
But Tourism Australia acknowledged there was only so much control he was prepared to secede to social media. Strict procedures will be put in place to moderate the type of content that goes up on the website www.australia.com and the promotional website www.nothinglikeaustralia.com. Each image and accompanying text will be vetted three times and the copyright will reside with Tourism Australia which reserves the right to take it down as and when it sees fit.
"First and foremost we are a marketing organisation and we want to put the best possible image of Australia forward... so absolutely we will be controlling that," Mr McEvoy said.
But he was at pains to stress that the uniquely Australian voice that has been so much a part of tourism campaigns in the past - think Paul Hogan and his shrimp on the barbie and even Lara Bingle’s 'Where the Bloody Hell Are You' - will still be present in the new campaign. "The line itself can’t be colloquial because it has to be easily understood," he said, in another reference to the problems Bloody Hell encountered in Asia in particular. "I am sure that the personality will shine through. We are famous for having a friendly nature."
The campaign has been welcomed by the Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson and industry bodies like Tourism and Transport Forum. TTF chief Chris Brown said: "Tourists are increasingly seeking unique experiences, so calling on people to share their personal experiences and harnessing the power of social media will help to leverage Tourism Australia’s international buying power.We hope this fresh approach will garner widespread support from the public."