By BRUCE Piper
It’s attracted plenty of predictable criticism, but I believe we should reserve judgement on the new Tourism Australia “Come share our Philausophy” campaign which was unveiled early last month. International tourism marketing is an art, not a science, and the kneejerk negative reaction of many to the launch showed just how difficult it can be for an agency like Tourism Australia to manage the expectations of its many stakeholders.
Any campaign concept has to be acceptable and appealing to the organisation’s purse string-holding political masters, not to mention the local tourism sector — and that’s before taking into consideration the varied tastes, cultural nuances and purchase drivers for the international markets we are trying to attract.
In the lead-up to the revelation of the new concept, Travel Daily was urged to point out to the industry that the Philausophy campaign was “not our new advertisement” — but more a celebration of the industry operators who are taking part. At the launch event recently appointed Tourism Australia MD, Phillipa Harrison, highlighted the extensive research which had gone into the concept. While Australia’s landscapes, wildlife and world-famous cities create aspiration for travellers from across the globe, high-value, big spending tourists also want to experience the unique Aussie character — and this is what ‘Philausophy’ is all about. Of course we want to welcome all tourists to our shores — but particularly targeting the ones with deep pockets, who will spend more in the local economy, is what will keep the tourism sector really ticking along well.
As far as actual campaign execution goes, we are yet to see what’s going to be produced for each market, but Harrison noted that bespoke iterations would be created for our top 15 tourist sources — so criticism that ‘Philausophy’ won’t translate well is meaningless. It is literally the concept behind the campaign, rather than what will actually roll out.
And let’s face it, everyone loves Chris Hemsworth, right? The megastar presence of the Avengers’ Thor himself at the launch event was a highlight, with the Byron Bay local’s laconic interview with radio personality Michael “Wippa” Wipfli really evoking what it was all about.
If tourism continues its trajectory to being a more and more important part of our economy, it will be increasingly necessary for the community to recognise that every one of us is actually an ambassador for the country.
It’s a bit like the cleaner at NASA, who when asked what his job is says “I’m putting someone on the moon”. Similarly we all need to be putting out the welcome mat — and recognise that for the tourism and travel industry to flourish globally it is vital that inbound and outbound traveller flows are balanced.