The international borders may stay closed to tourism for some time to come, but the federal government is hoping travel-hungry Aussies will pump their money back into local attractions as the next phase of the ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign is rolled out.
Comedian Hamish Blake and wife Zoe Foster-Blake star in the new tourism push, hoping to encourage Australians to holiday in their own backyard and explore iconic destinations like the Great Barrier Reef, the Otways, and Purnululu national park.
“It’s time to go big,” the new $9 million Tourism Australia campaign urges.
Tourism minister Dan Tehan said the government was hoping to encourage people to take holidays of five days or more.
“This new campaign aims to get Australians to travel further afield, take a longer holiday, and visit those parts of the country typically reliant on international tourism,” he said.
“Australians typically spend more time overseas than foreign tourists spend in Australia, so we want Australians to treat their domestic holiday this year like an overseas trip.”
The federal government has worked to prop up the tourism industry, still hurting from the closure of international borders and battered by intermittent state border closures or lockdowns, through a number of measures like direct grants to travel agents and aviation operators. The government’s half-price subsidised airfares to selected destinations was also highly successful.
“Every epic holiday that we take in our own backyard delivers a significant shot in the arm for our tourism businesses, workers and communities,” Mr Tehan said.
He said Australian tourists spending holiday money domestically pumped up the national economy to the tune of $7.5 billion in the December quarter.
“There has never been a better time to book a big holiday in Australia with so many incredible tourism experiences on our doorstep and thousands of half-price airfares still available through the Morrison government’s discounted airfares program,” Mr Tehan said.
The ‘Epic Holidays’ campaign will be shown across TV, print, social media, radio and cinema ads.
Mr Tehan joined other tourism ministrs of G20 nations at a global virtual forum on Monday. He said “all G20 nations” wanted international borders to reopen to support the resumption of tourism.
There is no forecast for when Australia’s international border may be opened for tourism, with local travel operators looking on with envy as Europe prepares to allow international holidaymakers again from next month.
“Australia continues to be active in strengthening international cooperation on COVID-safe travel initiatives,” Mr Tehan said.
He said the World Tourism Organisation had estimated international arrivals fell by 75 per cent around the world in 2020, a loss of some $1.7 trillion in global tourism revenue.