17 June 2009

Australian working holiday makers centre of social networks

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According to Tourism Australia, social networking sites are becoming a popular addition to the Australian working holiday; more Australian working holiday makers are broadcasting their travels using Twitter and Facebook, and are sharing advice, stories, photos and holiday plans with the rest of the world.

Australian working holiday maker

Australian working holiday makers utilising social networks.

Tourism Australia managing director Geoff Buckley said that the web social networking culture for Australian working holiday makers has been a gold resource for promotion, because word-of-mouth advocacy has greater marketing potential than advertising.

Tourism Australia created a Facebook page for the World Youth Day last year to cash in on the potentially hundreds of thousands of young travellers making their pilgrimage to Sydney.  Now, there are 260,000 fans of the page, with Australian working holiday makers and tourists making up the majority of the 1,000 new fans added every day.

"Around one third of the Facebook fans are based in Australia and they are sharing their passion for their country with fans based all over the world, providing advice to travellers who are either in Australia or considering a visit," Mr Buckley said at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Melbourne yesterday.

"At the same time fans from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and the United States of America are the most vocal in sharing their experiences of Australia, through discussions, videos and photos from their trip."

Tourism Australia has been proactive in encouraging increased communications between the social networks; not only have they launched a twitter page "SeeAustralia" that lands Twitter comments directly on its "Australia" Facebook page, but MySpace and Bebo have active sites directly promoting the Australian working holiday.  Also, a Visiting Opinion Leaders program that targets famous bloggers has been launched, which invites and pays for bloggers such as The Sartorialist to holiday in Australia and comment on their experience.

Soon, Buckley hopes to launch travel deals to all fans of their pages on the social networking sites.

The idea behind the Australian working holiday is that young travellers have the chance to sample Australian lifestyle and tourism.  They can enter Australia on an Australian working holiday visa, which allows them to holiday in Australia for up to twelve months, and work for any employer during that time, so long as they stay no longer than six months with any one employer.  If working holiday makers work in specific occupations in rural Australia for three months or more, they have the chance to apply for a second Australian working holiday visa (otherwise it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity).

If you are interested in an Australian working holiday, take the free online assessment to see if you are eligible for a working holiday visa.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian working holiday visa.

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