Back in the day, when Gordon Gekko said: “greed is good”, and Australia was basking in the success of the “put another shrimp on the barbie” campaign, we saw ourselves in a different light, a new and sophisticated light. So we threw out our Akubra hats dangling with wine corks, we replaced our thongs with loafers and we saw ourselves as a legitimate tourism destination on the world stage.
Queensland jumped right in and led the way with their “beautiful one day, perfect the next” campaign, Crocodile Dundee was a legend and, all of a sudden, the starter’s gun had gone off.
We asked travellers to experience our natural assets, our reef, our rainforests, our red centre, our beaches and our people. We learnt to package this up with great images, great airlines and great hotels. We asked our visitor to accept our strange language, “g’day mate” and our even stranger-looking wildlife, cue the koala and the kangaroo.
We became more sophisticated, we upgraded our airports, our dining and our shopping outlets. We learnt how valuable good customer service really was in bringing repeat visitors back to our shores. We recruited, trained and mentored a new workforce to make sure we were investing in our industry. We did it fast and we did it well. Travel agents booked your flights and your hotels and some even suggested a day tour during your stay. Your hand-written tickets would have to be collected from your travel agent in a new vinyl ticket pouch. Gosh, I can still smell it.
Now, jump ahead to 2019 and oh, see how far we have come. It’s the digital age and we have had to adapt probably more quickly than any other industry in Australia. After all, we are a visual product first and foremost. Now, every tourism organisation, every operator, hotel or airline has to be an expert in social media, web SEO, payment platforms, APPS and booking platforms as we navigate through this new set of cords and cables. We can now be divided into eco tourism, sustainable tourism, special interest tourism, not to mention adventure tourism, luxury tourism and indigenous tourism to name a few. And we got really good at it, even our peers said so.
So what’s next? The tourism industry are experts in learning to adapt, to innovate and to be proactive in looking for new opportunities into the future. We are really good at bringing our industry members together, getting their feedback and taking them along for the ride. And we’re doing a bloody good job of it too. We’re not afraid to bring back campaigns that worked years before such as”Beautiful One Day..” and “Dundee” in the form of the handsome Chris Hemsworth.
So here’s cheers to another 40 years of Australian tourism being creative, inventive and engaging. I, for one, am very proud to have been a part of it all.
Ange Esdaile – Director, Go Fish Australia 29-04-2019