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Research suggests Australian tourism marketing needs to stop doing the same thing every year

Research suggests Australian tourism marketing needs to stop doing the same thing every year
February 21, 2020

Research from Queensland's James Cook University suggests that for Australia’s tourism marketing to remain sustainable, it needs to diversify and consider tapping into popular culture.

Popular Culture Tourism is an umbrella term comprising several fields including screen tourism, literary tourism, music tourism, arts tourism, special events tourism, and food tourism.

Researcher Dr Valeriya Radomskaya has investigated ways in which Australia could improve its tourism offerings and found “popular culture tourism” is being overlooked.

Dr Radomskaya noted “studies have found that more than 30% of travellers are influenced by popular culture but it’s not something that Australia actively promotes.”

Dr Radomskaya suggests it’s time to change Australia’s focus on wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef stating “we can’t rely on natural resources alone, especially as we don’t know how climate change will affect them.

“It will also help appeal to the increasingly diverse tourism market.”

Dr Radomskaya stressed that it’s not about abandoning the current focus, it’s about diversifying adding “it’s risky for countries and cities to rely on a single strategy for their tourism marketing. Tourism is an oversaturated market and with increasing competition, Australian destinations need to remain relevant.”

To see what this looks like in practice, Dr Radomskaya points to Melbourne highlighting “Melbourne has done this really well. The city has embraced its urban culture and actively promotes itself as a contemporary destination for things such as street art, street food, and niche cultural events.

“Other places try but it’s usually focused on locals, not at tourists. Australian cities and towns have great things going on but people just don’t know about them”

The problem, according to Dr Radomskaya, is that tourism authorities are unwilling to move from their existing methods.

“Australia is very conservative and doesn’t like to embrace different ideas. As a result, Australia isn’t utilising its popular culture to its full potential.”

And Dr Radomskaya says advertising with star-studded line-ups doesn’t count -“people point to Chris Hemsworth and think that’s popular culture marketing but it’s not. It’s just using a celebrity to market the same message as previous campaigns. What’s the point in doing the same thing every year?”

Image of Melbourne street art courtesy of Visit Melbourne

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