Tourism Australia kicked off its G'Day USA events with a VIP private event on Monday 23 January where guests got to 'travel' with Chris Hemsworth around Australia. The event showcased Australia's stunning food and wine, and coastal experiences through a virtual tour of the country offering the senses, sounds and smells of Australia.
Chris Hemsworth helped launch Tourism Australia's aquatic and coastal campaign focusing on the country's gorgeous beaches, in January, in New York last year (2016). The campaign has been hugely successful, with record breaking visitor arrivals and spending. Arrivals out of the US have crossed the 700,000 mark, reaching 705,000 in the last 12 months, up 18.3 per cent.
“It's a great honour to play a role in promoting my country to the rest of the world. My first year as an ambassador for Australia has been incredible, from experiencing the outback of Uluru and The Kimberley with my family, diving the Great Barrier Reef and exploring the islands and beaches of the Whitsundays. I am looking forward to another year seeing Australia and sharing its natural beauty with the rest of the world,” said Chris Hemsworth.
Celebrities including actors Naomi Watts, Callan McAuliffe, Dan Churchill, Brenton Thwaites, Matt Wright, Luke Mitchell and Rebecca Breeds were among guests at the event along with The Federal Minister for Tourism, Steven Ciobo, media and top travel advisors from luxury travel network Virtuoso.
Actor Rachel Griffiths emceed the event and joined Hemsworth on stage to talk about his first year as Tourism Australia's global ambassador.
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O'Sullivan said G'Day USA provided a perfect platform to showcase the best of Australia tourism to influential representatives of the US travel industry.
“It's great to return to New York, almost exactly a year after Chris Hemsworth helped us launch our latest global tourism campaign. Travel by Americans to Australia is growing at levels we haven't enjoyed since the Sydney 2000 Olympics. As Chris has so eloquently told the world, Australia is a place you feel and I'm delighted that a record-breaking 705,000 Americans have been able to do just that over the past 12 months.
“Through virtual reality and 360 technologies, we have built a campaign which brings Australia to the world in the most immersive way possible, so people have a much greater sense of what it feels like to visit the country and experience what we have to offer.
Consumers have responded extremely well and we've seen a step-change in the quantity and quality of leads we are now passing on to our industry partners. Our 'Virtual Australia' event in New York is about using this incredible content to connect with American travel agents and key distribution partners, improving their appreciation of our country and, by doing so, helping to influence more visits.”
At the event, Tourism Australia and leading luxury travel network Virtuoso announced an expanded partnership across North America, which will put a spotlight on Australia in 2017 through a range of joint activities including dedicated marketing to Virtuoso's affluent clientele and a major training focus for its travel advisors.
“This event that Tourism Australia is hosting exclusively for our travel agency members promises to be a spectacular way of showcasing this energetic and diverse country,” says Matthew D. Upchurch, Chairman and CEO of Virtuoso.
“Not only is it one of my personal favourites to visit, but Australia continues to be a key location for our travel advisors and their clients, consistently ranking in our top 10 destinations by sales and as the number one dream destination for Virtuoso travellers. This new agreement between Tourism Australia and Virtuoso makes it that much easier for our advisors to send people to this extraordinary part of the world by providing them with knowledge and resources. Our shared goal is to ensure that every Virtuoso agency in North America has an Australian specialist on board, someone who can assist clients as well as their fellow colleagues.”
Guests at the event were fully immersed in the best experiences on offer in Australia while sampling a menu curated by Neil Perry, one of Australia's most iconic chefs, and matching wines supplied by Wine Australia.
G'Day USA also celebrated Australia Day in Los Angeles with events including the LA Black Tie Gala and Film Event and a VIP dinner with chef Curtis Stone.