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Family visits to boost Australian tourism

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

Tourism Australia's Managing Director, John O'Sullivan, said the family visits - first by the cast of US sitcom 'Modern Family' and more recently by the British royal family - had generated enormous international exposure for Australia which is expected to translate into increased international visitors in time.

royal-family-australia"Families coming to stay are always special affairs but these two particular visits were especially memorable both in terms of their reception here in Australia and also the incredible exposure they received internationally.

"The spectacular footage and photos of the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Uluru, for example, saw daily enquiries to Australia.com increase 125%. And I know Voyages and Longitude 131, who run the accommodation and tours in central Australia experienced spikes in enquiries and bookings," he said.

"The reaction of the media attention from the Royal Visit was immediate - we had a spike in website traffic and have seen an increase of calls into our call centre with a an increase in primarily domestic bookings at this stage with an expectation of a pickup internationally in the next 3-6 months," said Ray Stone Executive General Manager Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Voyages.

Mr O'Sullivan said The Modern Family Australia episode - watched two weeks ago by almost 10m US viewers - had featured scenes at Bondi Beach, Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef, whilst every step of the royal visit had been broadcast across the world against spectacular backdrops including Uluru, the Blue Mountains, Manly and Taronga Zoo.

"Destination imagery such as this is tourism gold and plays a big part in inspiring visitors from overseas to come Down Under and check out for themselves some of the places they've seen on TV, online and in the papers and magazines.

"I have no doubt that we're going to see a positive impact on visitor arrivals, especially from the US and the UK, two of our largest volume and most valuable traditional markets.

"We know from Oprah's visit in 2010 that the impact, in terms of long haul travel, usually takes 12-18 months to be fully felt, but we're already riding the wave of a resurgence in US and UK visitors so hopefully this will give this hot streak a long and lasting tail," he said.

Mr O'Sullivan said that, like 'Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure', Modern Family and the British royal visit would help promote Australia more widely than just the US and the UK.

"News coverage of the royals was across the globe and the Modern Day episodes will be watched by potential visitors across 29 countries worldwide, including some of Australia's key international source markets such as Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand," he said.

Tourism Australia is leveraging the two family visits with targeted marketing campaigns within both the US and UK.

It is currently running a major campaign in the United States with Virgin Australia and Delta called 'Someday' - a competition to win 52 Australian holidays inviting Americans to guess the location of featured destinations by dropping a pin on an interactive Google map.

In the UK Tourism Australia recently launched its 'Visit Soon' campaign with British Airways, targeting the UK's $910m Visiting Friends and Relations (VFR) market. In a separate UK campaign, time-poor travellers are being targeted with a selection of affordable Australian holiday itineraries, all of which can be achieved within just two weeks.

The United Kingdom and United States are currently Australia's third and fourth largest international visitor markets, together accounting for more than one sixth of all international arrivals and jointly $6m annually in visitor spending.

There were 656,300 visitors from the UK during 2013, an increase of 7.9 per cent compared to 2012, generating $3.4 billion in spending (up 12 per cent). Tourism Australia estimates that the UK market has the potential to grow in value to between $5.5 billion and $6.7 billion by 2020.

There were 501,300 visitors from the US during 2013, an increase of 6.5 per cent compared to 2012, generating $2.6 billion in spending (up 9 per cent). The market has the potential to grow to between $4.5 billion and $5.5 billion in overnight expenditure by 2020.

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