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Thirty years of Tourism Australia: A history of iconic ads

Rosie Baker

The Dundee Returns campaign, launched today in the US during the Super Bowl , marks the biggest spend from Tourism Australia in any single overseas market at $36 million.

The body has a history of iconic advertising, from Paul Hogan saying G'day, to Lara Bingle yelling 'Where the bloody hell are you?'. We take a look at 30 years of tourism ads.

1984 – 1989: Feel the Wonder Down Under 2004 – 2006: Australia. A Different Light 2006 – 2008: A Uniquely Australian Invitation 2008 – 2009: Come Walkabout 2010 – Present: There’s Nothing Like Australia

Feel the Wonder Down Under: 1984 – 1989 The first Australian Tourist Commission television commercial featuring Paul Hogan aired on the west coast of the USA in January 1984. Hogan invited Americans to “Come and say G’day” and experience Australia’s beaches, outback, cities and relaxed lifestyle, adding the classic line, “I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you” as well as setting up Australia as the friendliest place in the world.

Responses averaged 1,500 a day and visa applications increased by 40%. The ‘Shrimp’ advertisement is now recognised as a classic in the world of advertising. Current Tourism Australia CMO Lisa Ronson tells AdNews Hogan put Australia on the map and is the "godfather of Australian tourism".

Australia. A Different Light: 2004 – 2006 ‘Australia. A different light.’ was the first campaign released under the new branding featuring the iconic kangaroo bounding in the sun. It aimed to draw on the link between the light, the land, and life in Australia.

A series of TV ads were launched showing Australia “through the eyes” of individuals including singer Delta Goodrem, commentator and cricketing legend Richie Benaud, poet Les Murray, artists Barbara Weir and Brett Whiteley and media personality Jono Coleman. 

A Uniquely Australian Invitation: 2006 – 2008 The campaign was uniquely Australian in tone and character and featured the tagline, “Where the Bloody Hell are you?” which catapulted Lara Bingle into the limelight.

Come Walkabout: 2008 – 2009 In 2008, the Australian writer, producer and director Baz Luhrmann produced a destination campaign which leveraged the release of Australia the movie.

Central to the campaign was the concept of ‘walkabout’ – a uniquely Australian concept that is steeped in traditional Aboriginal culture.

There’s Nothing Like Australia: 2010 – Present This has been the ongoing slogan for TA’s overarching marketing for eight years.

Restaurant Australia -   TA has dropped close to $70 million on this campaign since it launched. It was created in 2015 in response to the growing demand globally for food and wine as part of the travel experience. It looks to close the gap between perceptions of what Australia has to offer and the reality of our world-class food and wine offering.

Aquatic and Coastal - TA has dropped close to $50 million on this campaign For the first time this 2016 campaign put Australia’s coast and water at the centre of a campaign. It was fronted by Chris Hemsworth.

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Tourism Australia launches new ad to lure international visitors ahead of borders opening

By Lucia Hawley | 2 years ago

Tourism Australia has launched a major international campaign to entice tourists back ahead of border openings.

The ad marks the first big international tourism campaign in two years and is set to the catchy slogan "Don't go small. Go Australia".

Phillipa Harrison, managing director of Tourism Australia, discussed the move on Weekend Today, calling it "a moment we have been waiting for for two years."

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Australia's reopening to international travellers

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Harrison reflected on the strain COVID-19 had put on people's lives and, more specifically, on international tourism, saying, "People have been living smaller lives during the pandemic."

The campaign slogan was quipped off that — aiming to attract visitors back to Australia — with Harrison remarking, "What better way to go big than go to Australia?"

The ad showcases a slew of beautiful Aussie travel destinations including the Northern Territory, Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef.

"It's about showcasing the incredible diversity and the incredible experiences that are here in Australian," Harrison says, jokingly adding the "hardest part" of her job was deciding on which destinations to include as there are so many to choose from.

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Since the pandemic placed travel plans on pause, there has been a pent-up demand from tourists who are busting to get back into Australia. Harrison said employees within Tourism Australia have reported call volumes have tripled.

The Australian Government has announced borders will finally be opening up to the world this month, with fully-vaccinated international arrivals allowed to enter Australia from February 21, 2022.

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Tourism Australia Launches First Global Campaign Since 2016 Via M&C Saatchi

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Tourism Australia’s new global campaign, Come and Say G’day, is set to go live in key international tourism markets around the world from tomorrow (Thursday, 20 October 2022) to remind international travellers why There’s Nothing Like Australia.

The multichannel Come and Say G’day campaign includes new broadcast advertisements (in 60, 30 and 15 second versions), print and high impact Out of Home (OOH) advertising placements, as well as social, digital, and content marketing initiatives. The campaign activity will be further amplified by partnership activity with airlines, State Tourism Organisations, and key distribution partners globally.

Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, said Come and Say G’day will stand out on the global stage.

“This global tourism campaign is a critical step to rebuilding our visitor economy and supporting our tourism industry, which has been through the most challenging period in recent years,” Mr Farrell said. “Come and Say G’day is an iconic Australian welcome, and the use of some of the most recognisable and stunning scenery will remind the world why Australia is the best place to take a holiday.

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, said the Brand Ambassador, Ruby the CGI animated souvenir kangaroo, has been appearing on billboards around the world in the past week, building anticipation ahead of the global campaign launch.

“Come and Say G’day is unashamedly and unmistakably Australian through the use of a globally recognisable icon in Ruby the kangaroo who goes on an adventure across the country to show all that Australia has to offer,” Ms Harrison said.

“After a challenging time around the world, our uplifting and joyful campaign will stand out in what is a highly competitive international tourism market.”

“Ruby, who is voiced by Australian actress Rose Byrne, is joined on her adventure by a toy unicorn, Louie, who is voiced by Will Arnett. As a duo they bring both warmth and humour to the campaign.”

“Another hero of the campaign is the remake of the Australian classic song Down Under by up-and- coming Australian band King Stingray, who sing in both English and Yolŋu Matha, an indigenous language from Northeast Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.”

Tourism Australia Chief Marketing Officer Susan Coghill said to capture the world’s imagination and remind them of what is unique and special about Australia, a short film, G’day, will premiere at a global launch event in New York tomorrow.

“The short film, directed by Michael Gracey, aims to create an emotional connection to Ruby the kangaroo, by establishing her backstory and setting her up to be a long-term Brand Ambassador for Tourism Australia,” Ms Coghill said.

Alongside the global launch event in New York, local in-market media and viewing events will occur in Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris and London. Come and Say G’day is Tourism Australia’s first global campaign since 2016. It will run across key international markets from Thursday, 20 October 2022.

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Home » News » Tourism Australia kicks off $5m advertising blitz

Tourism Australia kicks off $5m advertising blitz

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A week-long tourism advertising blitz has begun across the country today, aimed at getting Aussies to book their next domestic holiday and boost visitation to those regions that need it the most.

The $5 million marketing push is the first major activation of Tourism Australia’s ‘Holiday Here This Year’ campaign for 2021, and will run until 6 February.

It aims to inspire people to take a well-deserved break and, in doing so, provide much-needed support to tourism operators and communities around the country.

The campaign activation will feature Australian destinations, tourism products and experiences, including areas impacted by last summer’s bushfires.

The week of marketing activity will combine event sponsorships, publisher-created content and in-program editorial integration, as well as national advertising running across key television programs, online and print, and 2,500 outdoor ads.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said the campaign was part of the federal government’s ongoing support for the domestic tourism industry, which is worth $100 billion to the Australian economy and supports more than 621,000 local jobs.

“We want Australians to get excited about holidaying in Australia,” Tehan said.

“Our country is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and this year is an opportunity for Australians to discover why.

“This nationwide advertising blitz will inspire Australians to plan and book their next domestic getaway in the weeks and months ahead.”

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Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said that with many Aussies returning to work, now was the perfect time to provide them with the inspiration and ideas to book their next holiday.

“Summer is typically the busiest time for our tourism industry, with many operators relying on the revenue generated during this period to support them throughout the year,” she explained.

“But, as a result of the challenges that we’ve continued to face across the country, for many tourism businesses, this holiday season unfortunately hasn’t gone to plan so far.”

Despite the recent disruptions, Harrison noted that consumer confidence remains high, with many Aussies keen to take a break and get out and explore their own backyard.

“This campaign is all about capitalising on this pent-up demand by providing those people with all the content and inspiration they need to convert this desire and yearning for a holiday into actual bookings,” she said.

Email the Travel Weekly team at [email protected]

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Global campaign to invite the world to Come and Say G’day

Tourism Australia’s new global campaign, Come and Say G’day , is set to go live in key international tourism markets around the world from tomorrow (Thursday, 20 October 2022) to remind international travellers why There’s Nothing Like Australia .

The multichannel Come and Say G’day campaign includes new broadcast advertisements (in 60, 30 and 15 second versions), print and high impact Out of Home (OOH) advertising placements, as well as social, digital, and content marketing initiatives. The campaign activity will be further amplified by partnership activity with airlines, State Tourism Organisations, and key distribution partners globally.

Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, said Come and Say G’day will stand out on the global stage.

“This global tourism campaign is a critical step to rebuilding our visitor economy and supporting our tourism industry, which has been through the most challenging period in recent years,” Mr Farrell said.

“ Come and Say G’day is an iconic Australian welcome, and the use of some of the most recognisable and stunning scenery will remind the world why Australia is the best place to take a holiday.”

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, said the Brand Ambassador, Ruby the CGI animated souvenir kangaroo, has been appearing on billboards around the world in the past week, building anticipation ahead of the global campaign launch.

“ Come and Say G’day is unashamedly and unmistakably Australian through the use of a globally recognisable icon in Ruby the kangaroo who goes on an adventure across the country to show all that Australia has to offer,” Ms Harrison said.

“After a challenging time around the world, our uplifting and joyful campaign will stand out in what is a highly competitive international tourism market.”

“Ruby, who is voiced by Australian actress Rose Byrne, is joined on her adventure by a toy unicorn, Louie, who is voiced by Will Arnett. As a duo they bring both warmth and humour to the campaign.”

“Another hero of the campaign is the remake of the Australian classic song Down Under by up-and-coming Australian band King Stingray, who sing in both English and Yolŋu Matha, an Indigenous language from Northeast Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.”

Tourism Australia Chief Marketing Officer Susan Coghill said to capture the world’s imagination and remind them of what is unique and special about Australia, a short film, G’day , will premiere at a global launch event in New York tomorrow.

"The short film, directed by Michael Gracey and produced by FINCH, aims to create an emotional connection to Ruby the kangaroo, by establishing her backstory and setting her up to be a long-term Brand Ambassador for Tourism Australia,” Ms Coghill said.

Alongside the global launch event in New York, local in-market media and viewing events will occur in Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Berlin, Paris and London. Come and Say G’day is Tourism Australia’s first global campaign since 2016. It will run across key international markets from Thursday, 20 October 2022.

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Rose Byrne and Ruby, Come and Say G’day global campaign, 2022 © Tourism Australia

Come and Say G’day

Tourism australia's new global campaign to support the australian tourism industry rebuild.

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New campaign to target international tourists.

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International visitors will be inspired to take a big holiday when they visit Australia with a new tourism marketing campaign to promote the re-opening of our international border.

Don’t Go Small. Go Australia will remind travellers around the world of the full range of incredible experiences that await them Down Under.

The $40 million ad campaign will feature iconic destinations and experiences from the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru, to Sydney Harbour and Melbourne’s laneways. The campaign will kick-off this week targeting tourists in United States of America and United Kingdom, across TV, print, digital and social channels.

The campaign will include outdoor activations in New York’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus. To reach peak audiences in the US, the TV ad will be broadcast in Los Angeles in the break ahead of the Olympics broadcast on Monday and just after the airing of the Superbowl.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said Tourism Australia had been prepared to ramp up its international marketing efforts once the border re-opening was announced.

“The world has been waiting two years to get Down Under for a holiday and our latest ad campaign will remind them of what they’ve been missing,” Mr Tehan said.

“After COVID-19, the world is looking forward to taking a holiday and we want that holiday to be in Australia.

“Australia offers the best of everything: natural wonders — like the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru — beaches, world-class food and drink, Indigenous traditions and culture, unique wildlife, arts and sport.

“Our message to tourists is: don’t go small. We want visitors to make the most of their holiday by filling their itinerary and doing as many things as possible and if they do they’ll be supporting the 660,000 jobs in our tourism industry and our tourism regions.

“This new campaign is just the first step in a long-term strategy to restart tourism to Australia, with further investment in tourism marketing campaigns internationally to come in the second half of the year.”

Come and Say G’Day - Don’t Go Small. Go Australia will run in Western markets including Germany, France, Italy, and Canada as well as the USA and UK. The existing Come and Say G’Day - Australia is Yours to Explore , which launched in Singapore ahead of its reopening, will continue to be rolled out in markets in Asia such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Greater China as travel reopens.

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Why a rise in 'tourism-phobia' should give Australians flocking to European summer a cause for pause

People sunbathe under a row of umbrellas at a beach on Greece.

It's that time of year again when social media feeds become flooded with "Euro summer" holiday content.

Every winter, there's a cohort of Australians who escape to the Mediterranean Sea, seeking an idyllic scene to sip Aperol spritz in the sun.

But, they may not all be getting a warm welcome. 

Since pandemic travel restrictions eased, tourism has come surging back and Europe is copping an influx of visitors in record numbers.

And some locals aren't happy about it. 

Graffitti on a wall in Athens saying "Tourists Go Home, Greek State Kills".

Graffiti and stickers exclaiming, "Tourists go home!" and threats such as "We'll spit in your beer" are becoming a common sight across major cities. 

Anti-tourism protests are also spreading, with locals angered by "bad tourists", short-term rentals and "the touristification of daily life".

Experts say at this rate there's no way tourism can be sustainable, and we need to re-think the way we travel so we're not part of the problem. 

A return to overseas travel

Australians are back on the move.

In 2023, nearly 10 million residents returned from a short-term trip overseas , an increase of over 4.7 million on the previous year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

June was a particularly high time to travel, with more Australians leaving the country in mid-last year than in December 2022. 

A young boy and a man pose for a photo near the Eiffel Tower

Skyscanner Australia travel expert, Jarrod Kris, says there has been an increase in Australians searching for flights to European destinations.

Search volumes for European countries in 2023 were up by 28 per cent on the previous year, with Greece, France, Italy and Spain among the most popular.

Searches were also 16 per cent higher than pre-pandemic 2019, Mr Kris said. 

Based on Skyscanner flight booking data, the most popular 2024 Euro summers destinations for Australians so far are: 

  • 2. Manchester
  • 4. Istanbul

Landing in an overtourism crisis

Many of these popular destinations are facing an "overtourism crisis", Claudio Milano from the University of Barcelona's department of social anthropology, said. 

And it's leading to a resurgence of "tourism-phobia".

The term emerged around the 2008 financial crisis with locals blaming tourists for their deteriorating quality of life.

Now as crowds have come flooding back in record numbers after the pandemic reprieve, so too has social unrest and tourism rejection.

Especially as cities confront housing emergencies, masses of Airbnb lockboxes strewn down residential streets are a scathing sign of the times. 

A woman walks past graffiti on the wall in Spain that says "Guiri go home" which translates to "tourist go home".

Already Europe's foreign tourist arrivals for 2024 have exceeded 2019 levels.

And summer is bringing two major sporting events to the continent — the Paris Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany.

Tourism officials expect 15.3 million visitors to the French capital over the Olympics period. 

Parisians have been staging protests and strikes, calling out the social impact the Games will have on their city, which is already the most-visited destination in the world.

A protester in Paris holds a sign in French that reads: "Lack of Housing Seriously Harms Health".

Locals lash out   

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of residents have also been taking to the streets in Athens, Venice, Barcelona and Spain's Balearic Islands.

Last weekend, protesters occupied beaches frequented by tourists in Mallorca, after about 10,000 demonstrated the previous week under the banner #Mallorca no es ven — Mallorca is not for sale. 

Smaller protests have been held in neighbouring Menorca and the notorious party island Ibiza.

And throughout April, more than 50,000 people from the small Spanish Canary Islands took part in demonstrations.

Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, a lecturer in tourism management at the University of South Australia, says it's clear impacts of overtourism have reached new heights.   

"The recent activism in the Canary Islands, where tens of thousands of people came out in a relatively small community, indicates just how angry people are," she told the ABC.

People hold a banner that reads "Mallorca is not for sale", as they take part in a protest against mass tourism.

Fake signs have been spotted at Spanish beaches warning tourists that there's dangerous jellyfish and falling rocks.

Then small-print in Catalan reads "the problem isn’t a rockfall, it's mass tourism", according to local media reports. 

There's also been more confronting backlash with reports of rentals cars, bikes and tourist buses being vandalised or their tires slashed.

Tourists making life unlivable

Professor Milano says similar messages are being echoed by anti-tourism activists and movements across the board.

Locals are frustrated by cities being oversold and overcrowded with "capitalistic tourism".

Short-term rentals are raising housing costs, taking over residential buildings, and pricing locals out of living in their own towns.

Javier Carbonell, a real estate agent in Mallorca, told Reuters over half of rental properties were used for holiday rentals and were not affordable for locals.

"We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism," Mr Carbonell said.

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said cities and towns have become completely over-run by tourists, making them unlivable and unrecognisable to those who call them home.

Tourists are seen at St Mark's Square in Venice, Italy.

"There's no problem having tourists in the city, the problem is to have only tourists in the city," Professor Milano said. 

He called it the "touristification of daily life".

In places such as Venice, Italy, locals have been displaced due to poorly-managed tourism, Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said.

Some shops that sustained local life have been replaced with tacky souvenir shops.

"Because of tourism developments and the way tourism has run, it's made it difficult to lead normal lives," she said.

"Whether you can travel to Venice, and have that accepted, requires thought on the part of the traveller."

A stencilled graffiti on a stone wall saying "Tourist go Home".

Should you still travel?

Professor Milano says for the most part activists are not angered by the tourist encounter, rather the tourism model and the issues it provokes. 

They don't want no tourism at all, but he admitted they do want better tourists. 

And there are ways to minimise negative effects so your travels benefit local businesses. 

Avoid Airbnb 

In Athens, graffiti is sprayed across walls showing buildings up in flames alongside the words "burn Airbnb", according to local media.

And protesters in the city have been waving signs reading "Barcelona: Tourists welcome, locals NOT welcome", and chanting "tourists are taking our houses".

Professor Milano said travellers should avoid booking Airbnb and instead find a hotel.

And tourists should try to spend money on local businesses as much as they can. 

A lot of frustration stems from outside entities profiting while locals suffer, Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said. 

"The most simple advice that I could give to make sure you're welcome — no matter where you go — is to knowledgeably and intentionally spend money in that local economy." 

Beware of 'live like a local' myths 

Travellers are being warned about falling for commercial narratives that promote getting a local's experience. 

"With Airbnb, we have brought tourism into our buildings," Professor Milano said. 

"Airbnb used to be promoted as 'live like a local' ... But it’s not 'live like a local' because the property manager is a big company that probably owns 200 apartments in Barcelona."

In some cities, residential areas are becoming so congested locals can't easily access their own streets or get on a bus. 

The advice is to stay away from the crowded areas and avoid travelling at peak seasons.

Tourists read a travel guide of Rome as they sit near Colosseum crowds in Rome.

Scrap the multi-stop trips

What has been called the "Ryanair revolution" has enabled travellers to jet between European destinations for next to nothing.

This hyper mobility is a big part of the problem, Professor Milano said.

Regularly flying to Europe for two weeks and visiting several destinations isn't uncommon for some Australians. 

But Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says we need to consider slowing down — not just for the wellbeing of the local communities, but for the environment.

"Access to these places is not our right, it’s a privilege," she said.

"We need to get more considered in our consumption."

She said we don't need to stop holidaying, but it would be better to scale it back to one big holiday every few years, and staying in the one country.

'Don't be a jerk'

Protesters in the Canary Islands have been calling out "bad tourists" who disrespect the land and culture.

While campaigns in Amsterdam have been targeting badly-behaved tourists with the slogan "stay away" if your plan is to come for a messy night "getting trashed".

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says if you want to be accepted in cities, simply "don’t be a jerk".

"You're a visitor in somebody's home, and that's the thing about these destinations that we forget — these are local people's homes," she said.

"Visitors think they have a right to go to places, that their money buys them access, and that they don't need to be thoughtful and sensitive."

This also applies to "commodifying travels", and the lengths people will take to get the perfect social media shot. 

Listen to communities 

Policies and measures are being rolled out in many places to address overcrowding, such as introducing tourist taxes, entry fees, and capping visitor numbers at peak times. 

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says it's also important to listen to what communities want, because locals are saying this isn't enough.

"We should stop emphasising continual economic growth to instead look at wellbeing," she said. 

Countries outside Europe have been developing responsible tourist pledges for visitors to sign when they arrive.

The Pacific Island nation of Palau has taken this a step further, opening up local opportunities for tourists who abide by the pledge and show respect.

"That's what gets you a warm welcome into these places," Dr Higgins-Desbiolles said.

"We really should centre tourism on local community rights. That would make the difference."

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Considering a “Euro-summer” this year? Maybe have another think about it.

Since the easing of pandemic travel restrictions, Europe has experienced an unprecedented surge in tourism.

Many locals are voicing their frustration, as evidenced by declarations across Europe, including, “tourists go home”, “foreigners out”, and “not for sale”.

Anti-tourism protests are becoming more common, driven by anger over “bad tourists”, short-term rentals, and the “touristification of daily life”, the ABC reports .

A very dense crowd of tourists circulates in Venice, Italy. Picture: AFP

Experts and locals warn that the current rate of tourism is unsustainable and that Aussies should reconsider their travel habits to avoid exacerbating the issue.

Australians return to travel in record numbers

In 2023, nearly 10 million Australians returned from short-term overseas trips, more than doubling the previous year’s numbers according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). June saw an especially high volume of travel, surpassing even December figures.

Barcelona returns from the tourist massification, after the truce that represented the stoppage of the activities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: AFP

Claudio Milano from the University of Barcelona’s Department of Social Anthropology told the ABC that many popular destinations are facing an “over-tourism crisis,” leading to a resurgence of “tourism-phobia.”

“There’s no problem having tourists in the city, the problem is to have only tourists in the city,” Professor Milano explained.

Protesters hold signs reading ‘Everywhere you look everyone is foreign’ during a demonstration on the island of Mallorca in Palma de Mallorca in May. Picture: AFP

The term “tourism-phobia” first emerged around the 2008 financial crisis, when locals blamed tourists for their declining quality of life.

With the post-pandemic influx, social unrest and rejection of tourism have surged once again. Housing crises and the proliferation of Airbnb rentals are exacerbating tensions.

In 2024, Europe’s foreign tourist arrivals have already surpassed 2019 levels. The continent is also preparing for two major sporting events — the Paris Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany.

Paris alone expects 15.3 million visitors during the Olympics, sparking protests and strikes from locals concerned about the social impact on their city.

‘The Spanish Mykonos’ battles over-tourism

Each year, almost 800,000 tourists visit Binibeca Vell, a tiny village in Menorca dubbed “the Spanish Mykonos” for its picturesque resemblance to the famous Greek island.

For its 200 residents, this influx is overwhelming.

Oscar Monge, who runs a local residents’ association, told AFP last month of his desire for the village “to be calmer”.

Almost 800,000 tourists visit Binibeca Vell each year. Picture: AFP

While the village’s charm draws tourists, locals are frustrated by their behaviour.

“Everyone wants to come here to have their picture taken,” Monge said.

Signs asking visitors to be “respectful” and “quiet” are posted throughout the village, addressing issues like tourists walking on walls and rooftops or entering private homes.

‘Negative social aspect’

To combat over-tourism, Binibeca Vell residents have restricted visitor access to certain hours and are considering a total ban.

However, this has sparked debate. Maria Neyla Ramirez, who runs a local restaurant, worries about the impact on businesses, advocating for “a bit of flexibility.”

Despite these measures, tourists like Jean-Marie Bassut from France still wish to visit.

“For the people who live here, it’s special. But that’s tourism ... we like to see beautiful things,” he told AFP.

Monge believes a balance is possible but insists on regulation to prevent unchecked busloads of tourists. Last year, a record 17.8 million people visited the Balearic Islands, and numbers are expected to rise.

Regional leader Marga Prohens of the right-wing Popular Party (PP) emphasised the need to consider tourism’s “negative social impact” to make it compatible with residents’ lives.

‘Not for sale’

In late May, millions of residents across Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza protested under the slogan: “Our islands are not for sale,” calling for limits on over-tourism.

In May, Thousands of people demonstrated in the Spanish city of Palma de Mallorca against excess tourism, one of the main sources of wealth in the area, under the slogan ‘Mallorca is not for sale’. Picture: AFP

They highlighted noise, traffic, pollution, and rising house prices as primary concerns. In response, local authorities have implemented various restrictions, including alcohol sales limits and bans on street drinking.

Mallorca’s mayor plans to ban new tourist accommodations and limit cruise ship arrivals, while Ibiza is tightening rules on party boats.

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A regional government committee is developing a “road map” for sustainable tourism solutions.

Joaquin Quintana, a Binibeca Vell resident, summed up the delicate balance: “We do want tourists to come … and enjoy the natural paradise we have here, but it’s important to find a balance.”

– With AFP

Australians heading abroad this winter are being urged to keep a close eye out for three types of scams in particular.

Once upon a time if you blinked, you’d miss Aldi’s biggest sales event of the year. Now — product sits limp and lifeless weeks after the famed event.

The ski season officially kicks off in NSW and Victoria this weekend despite the lack of snow – and authorities have a stern warning for visitors.

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LAST UPDATED: December 6, 2023

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A detailed timeline of the private holiday scandal at Tourism Australia

Since Tourism Australia discovered a $137k travel breach last October, things have been escalating quickly. This week, it was revealed the anti-corruption commission is involved.

Anton Nilsson

Jun 06, 2024

Trade Minister Don Farrell (Image: AAP/Private Media)

Tourism Australia (TA) is engulfed in a deepening scandal over the alleged misuse of taxpayer funds — this week, it was revealed the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) had been called in to investigate.

Lots has happened since Crikey revealed in April that three Tourism Australia employees — a senior employee and two staffers in China — had been fired for going on private holidays using $137,441 of taxpayer funds. Here is a timeline of the facts that have been uncovered about the incident so far. 

October 20, 2023

Tourism Australia employees discover three employees had breached the agency’s travel policy. “The breach … was immediately reported and escalated in accordance with Tourism Australia policies,” managing director Phillipa Harrison told Senate estimates this week. 

In the following months, several things happened, although it’s not clear exactly when or in what order:

  • The chair of the Tourism Australia board, and the chair of the agency’s audit and risk committee, were verbally notified of the breach.
  • Trade Minister Don Farrell’s office was “verbally notified soon after the issue was discovered”. 
  • The consultancy firm Deloitte was engaged to “carry out a thorough forensic audit stretching back to 2021”. No further breaches were identified. 
  • External legal advice was sought “in Australia and overseas”.

December 7, 2023 

Tourism Australia holds an all-staff meeting where it was announced one of the three people, a senior employee, had departed the agency. Sources with knowledge of the meeting have told Crikey there was a mention of a “breach of policies” and “all TA staff were reminded of their obligations under TA policies”.

Late December, 2023

Minister Farrell receives written communication from Tourism Australia about the breach of policy. The letter was written “once the breach of policy [had been] externally reviewed and rectified”, Harrison told the Senate. It also outlined “the steps that had been undertaken to address the policy breach”. 

By December, the three fired employees had paid back the money they allegedly misappropriated, according to Tourism Australia. 

January 25, 2024

Tourism Australia notifies the NACC about the breach. 

April 3 

Crikey reaches out to Tourism Australia, asking questions about the policy breach for the first time. 

April 9 

Tourism Australia responds with a statement confirming the breach, saying it was discovered in October and that the three employees had left the agency and paid back the money. 

April 12 

Tourism Australia furnishes more information in response to follow-up questions from Crikey, including the exact amount of money involved and some more specific information about when the breach was discovered.

In response to further questions from Crikey, including about whether Tourism Australia had referred the matter to the NACC, the agency says it had no further information to provide. 

Crikey publishes the first story on the breach the same day. 

Harrison fronts Senate estimates where she is grilled on the breach. She reveals the NACC has been contacted, and claims immunity from the majority of the questions, saying advice from the corruption watchdog prevents her from revealing many of the details sought. 

Minister Farrell tells the hearing the immunity claim based on NACC advice was a “first” and says the situation “present some significant issues which I myself would like to get clarified”. He adds that he would seek “more information on what the government’s responsibilities, and the department’s responsibilities” are in instances where NACC advice would prevent the Senate from asking questions. 

In the same hearing, Harrison appears to inadvertently confirm the breach is connected to the agency’s China office.

June 5 

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus appears on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing program where he acknowledges there is a “tension” between the ability for government to examine officials and the NACC’s investigatory needs. “Parliamentary processes may need to give way for a time, not permanently, but for a time on an investigation that’s being carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission,” he says. 

Do you know more? Contact Anton Nilsson securely on Signal via the username anilsson.33 — download the app, create a new chat via the pencil symbol and type the exact username into the search bar to get in touch. Or send him an email at  [email protected] .   Anonymity guaranteed.

About the Author

Anton Nilsson — Politics Reporter

Politics Reporter @antonknilsson

Anton Nilsson is Crikey's federal political reporter. He previously covered NSW Parliament for NCA NewsWire, and before that, worked for Sweden's Expressen newspaper as well as other publications in Sweden, Australia and the United States.

  • don farrell
  • national anti-corruption commission
  • Phillipa Harrison
  • Tourism Australia

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Gee my eyesight must need checking! When I first saw that photo of Don Farrell adjacent to a headline about timeline of Tourism Australia scandal, I thought it was Scotty from Marketing.

The ‘Fraudian slip’?

I thought he was the copper from Harrow.

Damien Garvey also played the Les Patterson minister in Rake, and a slightly less dodgy cop in Jack Irish. Plays that combination of menace, comedy and irritable bowel syndrome brilliantly.

Would Crikey mind refraining from “reaching out” and resume “contacting”. I note Tourism Australia “responded”. Why not say “reached back”?

I agree that ‘ reaching out’ is a barbarism for ‘contacting’. I add that ‘verbally’ means with verbs and other words. I assume the author means that people were ‘ora lly notified of the breach’.

Given the LibLab neutering of the openness of NACC, one could assume anything sent to it is done so to avoid public scrutiny rather than public interest investigation and disclosure.

Well if the NACC sees no need for its involvement, then there’s no reason to keep the brief of evidence sent to it from the Royal Commission secret, is there?

Here’s hoping not too many matters of a similar nature are referred to the NACC otherwise there will be more hiding behind process rather than a public outing in Senate Estimates.

Scotty from marketing showed them the way. It’s only taxpayer dollars after all to help themselves to.

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