Tourism Australia campaign blasted over boozers

Tourism Australia campaign blasted over boozers

Lavish new TV commercial aiming for high rollers, but drops the ball on no-alcohol beach
Tourism Australia
What's that, honey? You think you see some illegal drinking on the shore?

Probably only in Australia could tourism chiefs attempt to move the country’s image upmarket and still come away red-faced after a gaffe over boozing in public.

The new AU$250 million (US$242 million) 17-language TV marketing campaign that began airing this week is an attempt to get away from the stereotypes of beach babes and laddish culture that might not appeal to more discerning travelers.

Instead, it focuses on luxury destinations and high-end activities designed to attract overseas visitors keen on a “broader” experience.

Scenes in the “There’s nothing like Australia” TV slot include spa getaways in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Kimberley’s Bungle Bungles and even people playing chess in Tasmania.

More on CNNGo: Insider guide -- the best of Sydney

However, it’s the inclusion by Tourism Australia of shots of a couple strolling a beach on Kangaroo Island in South Australia with a bottle of wine in hand that have drawn the wrong kind of attention so far.

Pedantic critics are pointing out that not only is alcohol banned on the beach, but the visitors also appear to be riding roughshod over the rule that requires them to be accompanied by a ranger.

World’s finest

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy focused instead on the positive aspects of the luxurious ad.

“This new campaign creative -- particularly the locations and how they have been shot -- clearly demonstrate Australia’s distinctive and high-quality tourism products and experiences that are amongst the world's finest,” he said.

“Promoting your best attributes is a strong and proven marketing principle.”

Staying true to that message, the Tourism Australia website is now sprinkled liberally with words like “contemporary,” “sophisticated,” “energetic” and “inspiring.”

And, with barely a shot of a kangaroo or a mugging Paul Hogan to be found, it seems unlikely that a little creative license and a misplaced bottle of plonk will derail the latest push to bring back the tourists.

Targeting China

The new TV commercial is already airing in China and will roll out to the United Kingdom and the United States later this week, with an Australian appearance scheduled soon to encourage domestic travelers to stay home this year.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, visitors from China were up 34 percent in April on a year previously.

The numbers of tourists coming to Australia from Japan and South Korea also jumped -- by 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

More on CNNGo: Kangaroo Island’s koalas under threat

(Via The Australian)