Survey says Australians are unreliable, unhelpful and untrustworthy…..and holidays in Australia are poor quality and bad value…..and it gets better….Tourism Australia CEO says he is not surprised!
In media reports yesterday from a major tourism conference taking place in Melbourne, Gruen Transfer ad guru and head of the George Patterson Y&R ad agency Russel Howcroft, unveiled some rather damning fresh data about global perceptions of Australians.
While the results are very interesting, what I found most interesting and surprising was that when Tourism Australia CEO Andrew McEvoy was questioned about the results, rather than responding positively, he amazingly said that the findings didn’t surprise him!
With the results of the survey saying that the many foreigners regard Australians as unreliable, unhelpful and untrustworthy and also that holidays in Australia were poor quality and bad value, it has to come as rather a surprise to the industry that Mr McEvoy did not take the opportunity to extol the virtues of Australia and Australians.
Isn’t that what he is paid to do?
Instead, in addition to his unsurprised comment, Mr McEvoy used it as an opportunity to promote TA’s current on line campaign, saying that that’s why the new campaign is based on emphasising the distinctiveness of Australia and use of social media to spread the good word about Australia from foreigners who had visited.
He added that using Bollywood stars as ambassadors to promote Australia a key plank in boosting Indian tourism following the student protests in 2009 with the latest campaign aimed at China featuring Chinese music stars.
He also said, “There’s different perceptions in different countries about Australia, so we’re encouraging people who have been to Australia to tell our story via Facebook and it is working”.
That may be the case, but George Patterson Y&R won’t have pulled their data out of the sky, so why such a contrast between the George Patterson Y&R results are saying and TA’s on line campaign?
Whatever the answer, what is certain is that, while some might applaud Mr McEvoy’s apparent honesty in backing the results of the survey, which may or may not be accurate, don’t you find it as surprising as I do, that the person charged with positively promoting Australia, and its image and reputation overseas, did not take a much more positive line, perhaps even going as far as rejecting the results of the survey? Now wouldn’t that have been an innovative response!
Perhaps it is time for change at the top of Australian tourism, with the industry in serious crisis, an issue that those in power do not seem to have grasped and if the George Patterson Y&R ad agency survey result and Mr McEvoy’s lacklustre response are anything to go by, we can potentially expect to see even fewer international visitors in future.
Industry Insider Commentary and Opinion by John Alwyn-Jones, Global Travel Media Special Correspondent