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Cheers! Oz tourism turns 50 – and this is how it looked

October 30, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

From Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, to Paul Hogan offering to throw another shrimp on the Barbie, and on to Lara Bingle asking, “Where the bloody hell are you?” – some colourful advertising campaigns over the years have helped fuel tourism’s record growth; and here’s a taste of some of them!

Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo, held a press conference at Surfers Paradise yesterday to mark half a century since Australia first promoted itself to the world as a place to visit. He looked at the past 50 years and how tourism has grown to become a key driver of the Australian economy.

It was in 1966 that Prime Minister Harold Holt put forward, in his election campaign of that year, the establishment of an Australian Tourism Commission (ATC).

Late 1960s. Great Barrier Reef

The ATC became a reality the following year. It took a few months to set it up but Holt lived to see the result – before disappearing on 17 December 1967 while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria. He is believed to have drowned or to have been taken by a shark, though a few conspiracy theorists suggested he might have boarded a Chinese or Soviet submarine and sailed away.

During the past 50 years the tourism industry has grown to be worth AUD 120 billion and to employ almost one million Australians, Ciobo said yesterday.

For a few opinions of tourism and agents from 1967, see: Views on agents and tourism from way back when

1970s. Australia welcomes Japanese visitors. Who could resist? Shot in Currumbin

“Liberal Prime Minister Harold Holt established the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) in 1967 as the Australian Government authority responsible for attracting international visitors to Australia,” Ciobo said.

“At that time, just 222,000 international tourists visited Australia and spent AUD 74 million. Today, Australia is breaking tourism records, attracting more than eight million overseas tourists who spend more than AUD 40 billion.

1970s. Come on ‘down under’ featuring Skippy

“Following the Tourism White Paper in 2003, the current federal tourism agency, Tourism Australia, was formed.”

Ciobo said Australia had solidified itself as “a bucket-list travel destination through famous advertising campaigns” from Paul Hogan offering to throw another shrimp on the barbie, to Lara Bingle asking, “Where the bloody hell are you?”

1980s. Perhaps the all-time classic. Paul Hogan’s shrimp on the barbie

In fact, the 2006 “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign was highly controversial, gaining media attention following a ban in Britain and being considered offensive by some markets.

“Having home grown superstar, Chris Hemsworth, as an ambassador in Tourism Australia’s latest campaign has also helped propel Australia to new heights.” Ciobo said.

1991, Greg Norman and South Korean actor Park Keun-Hyung

“Tourism has grown to become a major driver of the Australian economy. Every dollar spent on tourism generates 81 cents in other parts of the economy, higher than mining, agriculture and financial services. Importantly, 43 cents of every tourism dollar is spent in regional Australia.

“I congratulate Tourism Australia and tourism operators across the country for their outstanding contribution in promoting Australia as a must-see destination over the last 50 years.”

2002. Tourism ambassador Ian Thorpe, Japan

Tourism promotion hasn’t all been plain sailing. In January 2010, Tourism Australia (which superseded the ATC) displayed a caged kangaroo on a street in Hollywood. A concerned American filmed the animal and was reported as saying: “The kangaroo was there in a pen, like a 10 by 12 (foot) pen, straight on the concrete and it was really, really disturbing. It was just disturbing. There were kids who were really upset because this kangaroo was just rocking back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.”

2008 Camels on the Beach. Where the bloody hell are you?

All that aside, Ciobo said the strength of Australia’s tourism industry testified to “many years of unwavering commitment and hard work from those across the industry who work tirelessly to promote our beautiful country and ensure our products are of a world-class standard.

“Thanks to their resilience, the industry has continued to adapt, and perform within a changing global, technological and consumer landscape. The Turnbull Coalition Government continues to deliver record funding to Tourism Australia to further fuel this growth. If the last 50 years are anything to go by, Australia’s tourism industry has an exciting future ahead.”

The images you can see with this story were released yesterday to commemorate the 50th anniversary.

Here’s Paul Hogan in action attracting Americans in 1984.

To view or download more images, see here. You can watch videos of the campaigns as well, here.

Written by Peter Needham

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