Australia launches $5M marketing campaign

LOS ANGELES -- The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) started a $5 million marketing campaign that includes an Internet promotion of 100 vacation packages offered by various suppliers that start at about $1,400 for two weeks.

It is aimed at both consumers and agents, and all packages pay commission.

The new program was unveiled at the same time visitor figures for 2001 were released. Visitor numbers from the U.S. to Australia were down 7.6% in 2001 compared with 2000, when the Olympics were held in Sydney.

Total visitor numbers to Australia were down 2.6%, from 4.9 million in 2000 to 4.8 million in 2001.

The marketing program, which includes cooperative television and print advertising with suppliers, directs consumers to a consumer Web site, at www.australia.com, and agents to their own site, at www.travelagentaustralia.com.

The packages are available on both sites. Aussie Specialists have an added incentive -- the chance to win one of the packages for themselves by booking on line.

Plans include air and accommodations at the minimum in 11 categories: Best Value, Australia Naturally, Adventures and Outback, Luxury and Indulgence, Local Secrets, Special Interest, Discover it Yourself, Romance and Resorts, Family, and Gay and Lesbian.

The packages offer flights on Qantas Airways, Air New Zealand and United Airlines.

In addition to the programs, Qantas is giving a $50 per-person rebate for clients who book Qantas flights as part of a package on the site through April 30. Clients and agents can download a rebate voucher from the site and send it in after completing the trip.

"When clients come in looking for a honeymoon or family vacation, agents will now be able to pull up a suitable Australian vacation with as much ease as they can suggest a Caribbean or European destination," said Michael Londregan, vice president for the Americas for the ATC.

"We've taken all the research and hard work out of it for our retail partners.

"These packages are a great place to start, and provide clients and agents with a good idea of what can be done, at a basic cost, in the average two-week vacation in Australia."

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