13 December 2012

Virgin Australia steps into Qantas' shoes with Tourism Australia deal

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Virgin Australia have signed a AU$12 million (£8 million) marketing deal with Tourism Australia, partially replacing the agency's four decade-long deal with national flag-carrier airline Qantas, which ended in a bitter row last month.

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Virgin Australia has stepped into the hole left by Qantas last month.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce last month claimed Tourism Australia Chief Executive Geoff Dixon was leading a consortium aimed at buying out the airline and vastly altering the airline's direction.

Mr Joyce claimed this to present a conflict of interests for Mr Dixon and therefore suspended the airline's AU$50 million (£33 million) advertisement agreement with the agency, bringing to an end a 40-year long association.

And now Virgin Australia have stepped into the gap left by Qantas by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to each provide AU$2 million (£1.3 million) a year for the next three years for joint marketing activities.

Virgin Chief Executive John Borghetti said the marketing venture would be focused on major sporting and cultural events both in Australia and abroad.

"Both Virgin Australian and Tourism Australia recognise the importance of tourism to Australia's economy and are committed to promoting Australia as a world-class destination," said Mr Borghetti.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy also welcomed the deal, citing Virgin's global reach as a major benefit, particularly when promoting Australia in the US.

"Virgin Australia has an international footprint which spans a number of Tourism Australia's key markets, including New Zealand, the United States, Europe and the Middle East," said Mr McEvoy.

"When you add this to the airline's extensive domestic network, the benefits of strengthening our partnership are both logical and compelling."

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