Vegemite and Kiwi Po’ Boys

Renewed focus on visitors from down under

Australia may be one of the places on Earth that has as many stereotypes about it as does New Orleans. Badly imitated accents, a penchant for specific alcoholic beverages and a love of shrimp unite our fair city and that giant continent.

Now tourism trends have shown an increase in visitors from Australia to New Orleans and the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (NOCVB) is seizing the opportunity for promotion.

In partnership with Travel South USA, NOCVB participated in a recent sales mission in June to both Australia and New Zealand to promote tourism in New Orleans. Kim Priez, senior vice president of tourism for NOCVB, visited Auckland, New Zealand, Brisbane and Sydney, Australia with 27 other delegates representing southern U.S. states.

“We’ve seen a significant growth in visitation from Australia and New Zealand over the past four years due to the increased marketing and public relations efforts, as well as the new direct air service through Quantas and Air New Zealand into Houston and Dallas, and increased seat capacity on American into Los Angeles,” said Priez. “The New Orleans CVB’s representation on this recent Travel South USA mission will help contribute to increased bookings in international travelers to New Orleans.”

While in Australia and New Zealand, Priez met with travel agents and tour operators to encourage sales of trips and itineraries that included New Orleans and its attractions.

According to Travel South USA, the most recent data available shows there was a 51 percent increase in visitors from Australia from 2014 to 2015 in the 12-state region it represents (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia). Travel South USA also reports Australians take 31 overseas trips for every 100 residents, demonstrating a cultural commitment to international travel for Aussies of all ages.

A Brand USA Market profile stated the top five motivators for Australians to choose international travel are local lifestyle, cultural/historical attractions, beaches/seaside attractions, shopping and dining/culinary. In the words of obnoxious coworkers everywhere: “Check,” “Check,” “Bay St. Louis,” “Check,” and “Check Plus.”  We got this.

This past April, the popular Australian morning show, Sunrise, was broadcast from New Orleans to its home audience as part of its first-ever “Mystery Tour” series. The show, which is similar in concept to a Good Morning America or Today Show in the U.S., flew its hosts and four contest-winning viewers to tour the U.S.  That was also an effort on the part of NOCVB, as well as Brand USA, to encourage tourism to New Orleans.

Stephen Perry, president and CEO of NOCVB, identified that effort as, “an opportunity for us to reach millions of Australian visitors with a compelling invitation to come and visit New Orleans.”

Over 60 percent of Australian visitors are repeat travelers to the U.S. and they are most likely to visit between April and September. That coincides nicely with the NOLA spring festival season and even our hot summer months as a getaway for Aussies and Kiwis looking to escape their southern hemisphere winter.

With all of the promotional work the NOCVB has accomplished this year, I suggest you practice your Paul Hogan impressions.  



Categories: Tourism Biz