Interview on FAB FM Port Douglas Mossman with Paul Makin
Simon Birmingham: G'day Paul great to be with you.
Paul Makin: Well great to hear this look I couldn't think of anything better to tell the listeners this morning about this campaign. When was the light bulb moment for this, when did all of this start to come together?
Simon Birmingham: Well as always with these things Tourism Australia undertakes a lot of research across different markets. Ultimately this campaign is going to exist across 15 different countries and markets that Australia has a strong tourism presence in and one that we need to maintain or think we can grow further. And it'll be applied and developed in slightly different ways to reflect the cultural differences of those markets and the interests and aspirations of tourists in those markets in different ways. So in some ways you can think of it as a whole series of different campaigns but at the heart of it we're saying that we have to make sure in telling tourists that they'll come to Australia, we have to demonstrate they'll also have a great time while they're here, that it's not just about the wonderful sights they'll see but also the fact that they're going to engage with people that will deliver them the experience and memories of a lifetime.
Paul Makin: Now these countries of course they have different cultures but when you look at it, and I was looking at this this morning this is so true, we have in Australia a very unique lifestyle. We have a balanced lifestyle. We have the mate ship like no other country. We have storytelling. We have a love of nature. We have that she'll be right mate no worries attitude. Generosity of spirit, I still say Australians are some of the most generous people in the world. We have that sense of adventure. We have optimism in this country Simon.
Simon Birmingham: We have a real sort of irrepressible optimism, you know that that we're happy to have a laugh at our own expense but also always there to help out a mate, people in trouble all of those sorts of senses of our culture you know, we are a country where the tourism research shows people want to visit. They like the idea of visiting and they're certainly very envious of Australians, our way of life and high quality of life and the standards we have here. But we've got to convert them to go from thinking highly of us, thinking they'd like to come, to actually make the booking and that's what much of this campaign is focused on, to really convert that thinking to if you come you can share in some of that, enjoy some of that. And that's the reason why you've got to visit your travel agent or log on online and actually make the booking.
Paul Makin: Yeah because look we can certainly sell the country and that's the usual way you go but sometimes we forget we can sell what we have as a nation, what we are as a people that when they come here they're going to say gee whiz These Australians are friendly people.
Simon Birmingham: Well you know, you head out on the Great Barrier Reef for some snorkeling or some diving and yes of course seeing the beautiful reef and the magnificence of it and the different fish, that is all a crucial part of it but the person who takes you is pretty damn important as well. And knowing that [audio skip] they're going to give you that positive experience and that you're going to come away having had a thoroughly enjoyable day in each and every aspect of it. So we want to convey some of those attributes. You know tourism operators are the ones who ultimately make the experience worthwhile for visitors to our country and whether it's heading out on the reef, out to Mossman Gorge, the Daintree or Port Douglas, the experiences of far north Queensland are incredible. But it's also the many hard working tourism operators and we want to bring them to life as part of this. So that from that adventure based tourism that is so synonymous with water sports and activities up north through to the cultural tourism experiences led by indigenous Australians. They're all crucial aspects to this and we need to bring the personality of that to the fore. That doesn't mean not showing the pristine sites and scenery that is so appealing to Australia, it just means making sure that when we're doing that we're also capturing the flavour and essence of the people who deliver those tourism experiences.
Paul Makin: Do you know how this is going to be presented is it going to be presented in a television sort of campaign, movie theatres, posters. Do we know how when we go into those countries, and by the way you said- you touched on how many there are. We've got the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, New Zealand and Singapore. So Simon how was is presented to them?
Simon Birmingham: It's a bit of a horses for courses with that again Paul. So as I say the content of the campaign in different markets will be adjusted to reflect the cultural differences and the interests of visitors from those markets based on the research that's been undertaken. And then the delivery as to whether it's on social media platforms, traditional platforms like television or indeed for parts of the world a coffee table book style presentation, a high gloss magazine type style is being developed that will have some of those famous Australians who you mentioned before telling their stories of Australia in a way that highlights the wonderful experiences of Australia and that will obviously be to really target in those high value travellers out of markets like the United States, where Australia is still a country that is further away than most therefore it's more expensive to get to than most. We're a country relative to many of our competitors in terms of having higher wage rates and that also adds to the cost of coming to Australia. So we have to be very targeted in who we go after as well. We have backpacker markets and so on that are crucial. But the high value traveller who's willing to spend a bit more to stay in a quality hotel in Cairns and to pay for quality meals and experiences while they're here, they're the ones who we really want to convert because they will leave the biggest economic impact on local businesses.
Paul Makin: Well I think this is money well spent. Congratulations to you and also Tourism Australia. I think this is what we need. We were waiting for something to happen big and this is going to be big for us, some $38 million well spent. We've been talking to our Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham and just finally Simon, when's the next time you're going to grace us up in the Douglas Shire to Port Douglas and come up for a bit of a holiday yourself?
Simon Birmingham: Well mate yes indeed, I have to- I'm not sure when we've got it next locked in, I got as far as Townsville a couple of weeks ago with all of the state and territory trade and tourism ministers for a meeting that Queensland was hosting. Hopefully we'll get a little bit further north there sometime in the next few months with any luck.
Paul Makin: Fantastic. Simon Birmingham, thanks for taking the time this morning and giving us a call.
Simon Birmingham: I'm always keen to be hosted by Entschie when I can, always a good trip up north.
Paul Makin: He's a very hardworking local MP isn't he?
Simon Birmingham: He absolutely is and he makes sure he's always on my doorstep in Canberra reminding me of the importance of the north.
Paul Makin: Great stuff. Simon thanks for taking the time this morning.
Simon Birmingham: Thanks Paul.
Paul Makin: Bye. That's Simon Birmingham our Federal Tourism Minister and it was just so good to get him and to call us which was terrific. I know he's a very busy man.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7420
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555