Don Farrell launches Tourism Australia’s new campaign with Ruby kangaroo ads in Japan

An animated kangaroo has been named as Australia’s new “brand ambassador” as the nation’s tourism officials embark on a major revamp.

Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell unveiled “Ruby the Roo” on a billboard in the central Tokyo district of Shinjuku on Tuesday.

Senator Farrell introduced “Ruby” ahead of next week’s launch of Tourism Australia’s new campaign to woo international travellers after the scrapping of Covid-19 restrictions.

“We know the Australian tourism industry has been through the most challenging time over the past few years,” Senator Farrell told NCA NewsWire from Japan.

“This new campaign is vitally important as we look to build back the visitor economy and industry.”

Voiced in English by Australian actor Rose Byrne and Japanese actor Maryjun Takashi in Japan, the “Ruby” ad will also appear on billboards in Singapore, London and New York.

It was 16 years ago when Australian actor Lara Worthington appeared in a controversial but memorable ad to ask prospective tourists “So, where the bloody hell are you?”

Would-be visitors will now be encouraged to “Come and say G’Day” as Australia attempts to recoup tourists after shutting itself off to international visitors during the pandemic.

The campaign will launch on October 19 in 15 target markets and form the next instalment of Tourism Australia’s “There’s Nothing Like Australia” platform.

Japan is likely to be hoping for a reciprocal tourism boost after reopening to visitors this week after more than two years of strict pandemic border controls.

Senator Farrell was scheduled to cook an Australian-style barbecue for key Japanese travel partners to promote the tourist drive.

“Japan and Australia have strong tourism ties and we look forward to welcoming more Japanese travellers back to our shores soon,” he said.

In 2019, Japan was Australia’s fifth largest market for tourists, sending 499,000 travellers who spent a cumulative $2.1bn.

Australia had 9.5 million international visitors each year on average, who contributed $45.4bn to the economy before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Albanese government has committed to following through with the tourism targets put in place under the Coalition.

The strategy seeks to return visitor expenditure to pre-pandemic levels of $166 billion by 2024.

It aims to increase revenue from visitors to $230bn by 2030.

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