Animals proving a chief draw Down Under

Tourism Australia and Qantas Airlines have revealed that Australia’s range of loveable animals are playing a key role in the country’s appeal as a “memorable and desirable holiday destination”.


The two companies recently partnered up and asked members of the Australian tourism industry to submit their top social media posts from the year 2016, with entries ranging from panoramic pictures of Bondi Beach to the Australian war memorial in Canberra.


The accolade of the competition winner, however, went to Margaret River Discovery Co. owner Sean Blocksidge. His photograph of two kangaroos in front of a full moon gained over 72,000 likes. As the prize for his victorious entry, Sean will now take centre stage at this month’s major tourism and trade event, G’Day USA.


The top two video competition entries also both featured animals. The first showed a baby wombat called George and his caretaker, the cute footage of the pair receiving 277,000 likes on Instagram. The other video was of a butterfly perched on the nose of a koala, which received a phenomenal 38 million views after going viral on social media.


Australia’s tourism board has shown that the combination of the country’s unique range of animals and their popularity on social media has had a huge influence on attracting visitors. This has been seen in particular at Symbio Wildlife park, where park visits increased by 66 per cent in the month following the viral Koala video.


Lisa Ronson, Tourism Australia Chief Marketing Officer, said she was excited to see such a high standard of entry.


“What has struck me most strongly about this competition is not just the amazing quality of the photos and video submissions but the great stories that lie behind each of these postings and, importantly, the impressive results that have been delivered for all of these operators,” Ronson said.