Online charm offensive needed to lure Asian tourists
Tourism Australia's chief wants to grab a bigger slice of the growing Asian tourism market through an online charm offensive.
Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia, said he would shift the focus of his marketing campaign from traditional advertising to digital and social media platforms.
"The effective use of digital and social media is the battleground for our sector," he said. "At the moment, we are spending 70 per cent in mainstream and above-the-line media, but 30 per cent in the digital space. In the next five to 10 years, that will probably swap over completely."
Mr McEvoy said word-of-mouth was the best way to advertise and social media made that possible on a large scale.
"If you love your brand, set it free and let other people talk about it," he said. "We are allowing the global community to talk about Australia the way they want it."
He said Tourism Australia's online advertising blitz produced strong results in Asia and especially in China.
The recent "there is nothing like Australia" promotional video was downloaded 23 million times around the world, including 20 million times in China, since its launch in Shanghai in June, he said.
Another Chinese-language promotional mini-series starring two Taiwanese actors was watched by more than 50 million people in China.
Mr McEvoy highlighted the importance of Asia to the tourism sector and said he expected the Asian market to account for 55 to 65 per cent of the market by 2020. China is by far the most important customer.
"We are an industry in transition and Asia is our growth engine," said Mr McEvoy.
"China is our fastest growing and the highest yielding market. So the idea of cheap and cheerful Chinese is wrong," he said, "China will be a 1 million person and $10 billion market for Australia by 2020."
Since 2000, the number of Chinese visitors here has soared by 376 per cent, with their total spending up 770 per cent, Deloitte says. Almost 600,000 Chinese now holiday in Australia every year.