Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, have deepened their strategic marketing partnership with a significant increase in joint funding for the promotion of tourism to Australia in overseas markets.
Under the new arrangements, Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways will quadruple their spend in the 2014/15 season for what will become their strongest ever push to promote Australia to international leisure and business travellers. This doubles the total value of the original three-year, A$6 million marketing agreement signed in December 2013 to A$12 million.
This additional funding covers a range of joint marketing activities including support for Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign, its international media hosting program, Australian Tourism Exchange, and targeted business events in the UK and Europe.
One of the first initiatives funded under the expanded agreement was the recent UK launch of Tourism Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign, where Australia House in London was transformed into an Australian-themed ‘pop up’ restaurant.
The airline’s support for Restaurant Australia continues this week when it will fly more than 20 of the world’s top food and wine influencers to Australia to take part in the campaign finale – an Australia-wide media famil and a gala dinner at MONA in Tasmania on Friday.
A major broadcast initiative, to air in the UK in early 2015, is also being planned by the partners.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, pointed to the airline’s recent Perth launch and decision to deploy one of its first Airbus A380 aircraft between Abu Dhabi and Sydney as evidence of the airline’s continued expansion plans and commitment to the Australian market.
“Etihad Airways is one of Tourism Australia’s most important aviation partners, playing a critical role feeding traffic to Australia’s key gateways, via the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub,” he said.
“The work we’ve done so far with Etihad Airways has proved extremely successful for both parties, including targeted marketing campaigns in the UK, Germany and France, as well strong support for key Australian trade events such as this year’s Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE14), held in Cairns.
“Etihad Airways may be relatively young but is growing very quickly, with aggressive expansion plans which include Australia, where the airline already enjoys a strong presence. We very much look forward to extending this positive and mutually beneficial working relationship,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said: “Australia is one of our most popular destinations, and its appeal among business and leisure travellers – particularly from the UK and Europe – contributes greatly to our Australian operation.
“The partnership with Tourism Australia has delivered some innovative campaigns and strong passenger numbers over the past 12 months, and our decision to invest more in marketing Australia is driven by a desire to continue this momentum.
“The Restaurant Australia initiative, showcasing Australia’s best food and wine, is a natural fit with Etihad Airways’ own F&B offering renowned worldwide for its focus on fresh produce and restaurant-quality dining.
“We are delighted to have an aspirational platform such as Restaurant Australia as the basis of our continuing investment in Australian tourism and as a showcase for our own award-winning guest experience.”
Tourism Australia first announced a global Memorandum of Understanding with Etihad Airways in December 2013 worth a total of A$A6 million over three years.