Tourism Australia launched a new campaign this week to lure more British backpackers Down Under.
The idea of the launch stunt at London’s Victoria Station was to create a dinky-di Aussie beach in one of the transport hubs of the UK capital. There were a few problems though – there was no sand, no surf and the life savers were all poms.
Even the station security weren’t keen, for some reason taking exception to the camera tripods of the media that did show up.
When Australia’s High Comissioner to the UK rolled up to lend his support, he asked if any of the young men and woman sporting the iconic red and yellow outfits of our beloved surf life savers were Australian. Sorry, mate.
It was up to Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo to attempt to shine some Aussie brightness on proceedings.
“On a dark, grey morning in London, we wanted to highlight the bright blue skies and white beaches of Australia,’’ he said of the new $10 million dollar, three-year campaign to entice more backpackers to come to Australia for a working holiday.
“It’s a chance to reinforce what a great time it is to come to Australia,” he said.
“We’ve reduced the cost of working visas and people can stay for up to two years to stay and work in a variety of places across Australia.”
The campiagn aims to encourage more European youth travellers to come to live and work Down Under after a fall in numbers over recents years.
There are currently around 40,000 british travellers taking advantage of Australia’s working holiday scheme, however the government says it needs to increase that number.
The campaign coincides with the recent announcement by the Australian government to abandon a planned special tax rate hike on backpakers earnings to 32.5% which some analysts had blamed for deterring visitors before even being implemented.
According to Tourism Australia, a recent survey founds more than half of young British adults would consider a temporary move abroad to travel or work post-Brexit. They cited Australia as their most preferred place to do that outside of Europe.
The hired celebrity pulling power of the campaign is Made In Chelsea star Lucy Watson.
“I’m basically here to promote to my fellow UK residents the working tourist visa in Australia,’’ she said at the launch event, according to News.com.au.
“People need to know about this scheme. If more people knew then definitely more people would make the journey,’’ she said.
Although having never been a working holiday backpaker herself, Ms Watson says she has been to Australia and has family there.
In any case, it is hoped with her 2 million-plus social media followers Ms Watson will be able to get the Aussie message out to the youth of Britain.
They will just have to wait till they get Down Under before they meet some real Australians; apart, of course, from the thousands of Aussies who are right now in London on their own working holidays, who may have happily donned the red and yellow at Victoria Station to add a dash of authenticity to the event.