28 January 2009

UK backpackers can become South Australia's newest stars

The South Australia Tourism Commission has launched a new tourism campaign that will star competition-winning travellers from the UK, reports Adelaide Now.

The campaign will feature the new "Stars of South Australia", backpackers who have won a trip to the south to star in promotional commercials to be sent to the UK via blog. 

The one-minute films will capture the essence of backpacking in South Australia.  The first of these commercials, featuring 25-year-old Londoners Henry Mackintosh and Anna Nesbitt, showed snippets of camel riding across the Nullarbor, tasting wines in the Barossa and feeding pelicans on Kangaroo Island.

"Anna and I had never been to Australia and our friends had only been to the east coast," Mr Mackintosh told The Advertiser.

"I would absolutely recommend South Australia and Adelaide to my friends (now) - it was mind-blowing." 

The campaign is similar to that launched by New Zealand, where Tourism New Zealand set up a mobile filming studio to capture the "virtual diaries" of backpackers around New Zealand, which were then aired on television around the UK.

More than 300 entries and 27,000 website hits have proven the success of the campaign, which organisers hope will lure more backpackers from the UK to the paths less travelled in Australia, such as Adelaide. 

"It primarily was aimed at the backpackers and adventure market; in the current economic climate, they are a strong market because people will be looking to take a gap year or get away from it," SATC UK-based marketing manager Neil Saunders said.

Most backpackers in Australia are holders of the Australian working holiday visa.  The Australian working holiday visa allows young travellers aged 18 to 30 years to work and travel the country for up to 12 months.  Conditions of the visa mean that visa holders cannot work for one employer for longer than six months.  Those who work in a specified occupation in regional Australia for three months or more are now also allowed to apply for a second working holiday visa.

This month, it was reported that record numbers of young Irish travellers are heading to Australian on working holiday visas.  Figures show that the Australian government granted nearly 13,000 young Irish nationals with an Australian working holiday visa, a number that has doubled in the last six months when compared to the same period in 2007. 

Amanda Gripske, working holiday Division Manager from the Australian Visa Bureau, said: "In 2008 we had seen a large number of Irish passport holders applying for the Australian working holiday visas and we are excited at the prospect that this will continue in 2009."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

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