“It’s going to take time…” tourism recovery efforts after a summer of hell

The international tourism recovery campaign is underway after a catastrophic summer of bushfires and the Coronavirus outbreak delivered two massive hits to the industry.

‘There’s still nothing like Australia’, the first phase of Tourism Australia’s (TA) international recovery campaign was launched by Australian Minister for Tourism, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham this week. The $25 million campaign celebrates key destinations with messages like ‘There’s still the grandeur of Uluru.’

The total tourism recovery package announced on 19 January reached $76 million, part of the government’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund. From this Fund, Tourism Australia will invest $10 million in recovery efforts, in addition to $10 million from its existing budget, plus approximately $20 million worth of investment from various commercial partners.

To add to the industry’s dire forecast, Coronavirus fears and the resulting China travel ban have effectively wiped the key Chinese tourist market off the table.

In response, TA has secured an unprecedented number of key commercial partners like airlines and travel agents in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the UK – running a range of activities in each market. The updated material is about spreading the message to the world that Australia is safe, open, welcoming and still provides a wide array of experiences.

“It’s going to take time and sustained effort to get back to where we were,” says TA managing director Phillipa Harrison. “This is just the first stage of our international rollout, which is being deliberately phased to build momentum. We’re also finalising a new broadcast ad which will support the campaign, as well as a program of hosted international media visits which will give us the opportunity to show top journalists from around the world that Australia is open for business.”

As for the domestic travel market, the ‘Holiday here this year’ campaign, already underway as of 23 January continues this week with TV ads hitting regional screens. TA has already announced significant changes to its Australian Tourism Exchange program, waiving the bulk of attendance fees for attending Australian tourism businesses and providing additional support for familiarisation visits for overseas buyers to get to bushfire-affected regions.

Ben Ice
BY Ben Ice ON 28 February 2020
Ben Ice was MarketingMag editor from August 2017 - February 2020