17 October 2008

Tourism NSW using MySpace as their new weapon

Tourism New South Wales has created a MySydney profile on the global social network MySpace, in an attempt to lure the MySpace generation from America to holiday or study in Australia.

Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay said the campaign will run in the States from October to December this year and will target American youth to get an Australian holiday visa.
"This new tourism strategy integrates social networking, web technology and destination marketing to allow us to tap into one of the fastest growing sources of tourism business worldwide," she said.  "With this site we are launching a campaign to ‘own’ the youth travel market to Australia."

Ms McKay said the trend for travel is changing, and younger travellers are now holidaying for longer periods and spending more money, especially when compared with their mainstream counterparts, reports e-Travel Blackboard.  According to Tourism NSW, 37 per cent of total international visitor arrivals to NSW are youth, who also make up 60 per cent of international visitor nights and 53 per cent of international tourism expenditure.

"What sets MySpace MySydney apart from our tourism competitors is that we have attracted relevant and credible content written by youth for youth that will keep the site fresh and keep our potential travellers (or 'friends') coming back for more and passing the word on to their mates," Ms McKay added.

"This is not just a web site.  It is an online community where people can get first hand recommendations from their peers and other travellers about Sydney and NSW: our great lifestyle, opportunities for a professional career boost or a top-notch education, as well as unforgettable holiday experiences."

Much like New Zealand's recent campaign in the UK, this campaign uses the real experiences of young travellers, including those of people on an Australian working holiday visa and Australian student visa.

"The focus has been on authenticity.  We’ve got real Sydneysiders talking about their home. We’ve got real working holiday-makers talking about work and play opportunities, and real students talking about study opportunities."

The site also includes links to invite people to action, including CareerOne, Moshtix, and WeGo, so that users of the network can book flights, find a job, and even book tickets to Australian events.

In 2007, 292,900 visitors from the United States visited NSW, which was 1.7 per cent more than the previous year.  After the UK and New Zealand, the US is one of NSW's largest tourism markets, contributing 10.4 percent of all visitors.

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

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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