-- In Baird Bay, not far from here in southern Australia, travelers
and sea lions can swim together, and the playful pups will even
swim into the arms of their human playmates to get their chins
On the Coral Coast
in western Australia, several operators take clients into Coral Bay
to swim with whale sharks (these creatures are toothless
vegetarians). Farther south on the coast, dolphins visit the Shark
Bay beach, but customers cant swim with them here because they come
so close theyre swimming between your legs while youre standing in
shallow water, said Sue Papadoulis, manager of destination public
relations, Tourism Western Australia in Perth.
The exhibitors at
the annual Australian Tourism Exchange here last week have long
pitched their role as experience-makers. This year, nearly 1,700
Australian travel vendors brought their stories to about 600 buyers
Aside from wildlife
interests of the sort described, products ranged from camel
trekking or cattle drives to food and wine tasting, aboriginal
lifestyle excursions and river and shoreline cruising.
Tourism Australias director of industry and organization
development, said there was more aboriginal product than ever,
including more than a dozen aboriginal-owned businesses. Nerreda
Hillier, project manager for Australias North West Tourism in
Broome, said aboriginal tourism has taken off in the last decade or
so, largely driven by overseas interest from places such as the
U.K. and the U.S.
Then there were the
unusual accommodations, such as the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna
(population: 7) in the Flinders Ranges, known for its way with
Flinders feral food (emu, camel, kangaroo and wallaby), and the
underground Desert Cave Hotel in Coober Pedy, which is in opal
country and includes as a sightseeing option a 12-hour Outback mail
Options like these
appeal to the same audience that Travel Australias new ad targets
and dovetail with its goal of luring visitors outside the main
cities -- of dispersing them, in the words of Scott Morrison,
Tourism Australia managing director.
In its ads
featuring actor Paul Hogan as well as in other past campaigns,
Tourism Australia sought to raise positive awareness of the
With the bloody
hell ads, Tourism Australia wants to attract so-called experience
seekers because they will travel farther, go off the beaten path,
spend more money and, as opinion leaders, influence others to
follow, Morrison said. He said there are 29.1 million experience
seekers in five top Aussie markets: China, Germany, Japan, the U.K.
and the U.S.
Hence, the ads,
while loaded with references to the icons -- Sydneys Harbour
Bridge, Uluru, kangaroos -- also show what Aussies do, such as shoo
the kangaroos off their golf courses.
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine
Godwin at [email protected].