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Where the bloody hell is Canberra?

Canberra has been snubbed again - this time left out of Tourism Australia’s new lavish television ad which will be seen around the world.

The national capital didn’t make the cut of the 90-second film which launched this week in Australia and China as part of Tourism Australia’s $250 million global marketing campaign, There’s nothing like Australia.

Set against a specially written soundtrack, the ad does not refer to any location by name but shows images of the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberley, the Opera House on Sydney Harbour, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef’s Lizard and Hayman islands, Freycinet National Park in Tasmania, Melbourne’s Crown Casino, the Gold Coast and South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

It ends with the words ‘‘There’s nothing like Australia’’.

But there are none of the iconic images of Canberra such as the Australian War Memorial or Lake Burley Griffin.

The ad, also now on YouTube, will eventually run in 20 countries in 17 languages.


Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy today defended the decision not to feature any images of Canberra, saying the national capital was well-represented in other aspects of the multi-million dollar campaign including in a  new free tablet application.

Canberra is also one of only 14 places featured on the front page of Tourism Australia’s official website

‘‘Ads do a job and they build an impression for the country and not every place in Australia can feature in it, that’s not the point,’’ Mr McEvoy told The Canberra Times.

‘‘....It’s meant to create a great impression of Australia and consumers are reacting really, really well.’’

Tourism Australia in its official statements has unashamedly said it is promoting the ‘‘best attributes’’ of the nation and the ‘‘premier tourism product’’ in the ad.

Mr McEvoy repeated that today when asked if Canberra was ever in the mix for the ad.

‘‘When you make things, unashamedly, you use the best imagery you can to motivate the consumer,’’ he said.

‘‘The ultimate arbiter is the travelling public that you’re trying to convince to take an Australian holiday so we’ve made an ad that’s done that job exceptionally well. We worked with our creative guys to make sure we got a really good image of Australia and motivate people enough to take the next step which is where Canberra gets its opportunity.’’

Mr McEvoy said Tourism Australia had worked with tourism authorities in all states and territories including Australian Capital Tourism to ensure other locations were promoted to tourists through 25,000 specialist travel agents worldwide. The ad was merely the prompt.

‘‘So when people look at that ad they’re motivated to find out more about Australia,’’ he said.

The ad was launched on Monday in China, Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable overseas tourism market, but also in in Australia.

‘‘Ninety per cent of what we do is international so it’s overseas marketing but this campaign tested so well in Australia that we decided to show it in our own country as well,’’ Mr McEvoy said.

‘‘When we tested it in Australia, people said two things: 1. ‘It makes me proud to be Australian’ and 2. ‘It’s made me reconsider my country for a holiday’. In other words, it’s given people new motivation. Which is where Canberra will benefit, because when you do go online, Canberra is mentioned prominently.’’

The newly appointed director of Australian Capital Tourism, Ian Hill, said he was disappointed Canberra did not feature in the ad but understood the wider campaign that was being mounted by Tourism Australia.

‘‘I think we’d love to be in everything that Tourism Australia does,’’ Mr Hill said.

‘‘It is disappointing but at the same time [the ad is] a fairly generic piece around fairly broad tourism experiences, rather than one particular destination. It shows pictures of the outback, pictures of the beach - it could be anywhere.’’

Mr Hill was appointed to the top tourism post in the ACT only two weeks ago after working previously as the marketing manager for Australian Capital Tourism.

‘‘I’ll be keen to use my new elevated role to work closely with Andrew McEvoy to make sure we really encourage Tourism Australia to look at the nation’s capital as a place to be really proud in supporting and promoting,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s really good we’re in this program. But would we like to have a greater share of the voice of the campaign? Absolutely.’’

Tourism Australia used stock footage for some of the images in the ad and did have access to file footage of Canberra but Mr Hill said that might have to be updated.

‘‘We’ve got some good stuff but technology is moving ahead fairly quickly and that’s something we’re working on right now - to ensure we have the very best footage we have for digital execution,’’ Mr Hill said.

Tourism Australia says the development and production of the new commercial as well as print and digital advertising, online video and social media initiaives cost approximately $4 million.

Tourism Australia will spend an estimated $180 million over the next three years rolling out the evolving campaign in its key international markets and in Australia.

It expects to achieve a total investment of $250 million by securing up to $70 million in additional funding from industry partners to support joint marketing activities, aimed at promoting Australia with a ‘‘clear and consistent voice’’.

China, in particular, presented an opportunity to deliver around 900,000 annual visitors worth up to A$9 billion a year for Australia by decade’s end.


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