executive impact

Message from Australia - Come on down, be yourself and relax

By Chris Betros

Australia remains one of the most popular tourist destinations for Japanese travellers. In 2014, about 340,000 Japanese visited Australia, generating more than $1.3 billion in total expenditure, according to Tourism Australia.

Tourism Australia conducts campaigns for the Japanese market each year, ranging from restaurant promotions (most recently an Australian-inspired feast at Ruby Jack’s in Tokyo) to a visit to Melbourne by a Japanese journalist who walked around with a wearable camera broadcasting live to audiences back home. That broadcast was part of a "Make a trip to Australia" digital campaign currently underway on Tourism Australia's official Japanese Facebook page.

Overseeing Tourism Australia’s operations in Japan and South Korea is Andrew Reilly. A graduate of Sydney University and Stanford/National University of Singapore, Reilly has spent his career in Asia working initially with Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and then holding senior management and CEO positions in satellite TV, telecommunications, internet, property and tourism industries in 12 countries. He was a member of, and later led, the first Tourism Australia team and subsequently opened up eight other markets in Asia.

Japan Today editor Chris Betros visits Reilly at the Tourism Australia offices in Marunouchi to hear more.

How many Japanese tourists visit Australia each year?

Last year, it was about 340,000. When I was first here with Tourism Australia (then the Australian Tourist Commission) in the mid-1980s, we took it from 50,000 to half a million. By the mid-1990s, Australia was getting about 630,000 Japanese tourists a year and it peaked a few years later at 830,000.

What caused the boom back then?

Two key things happened. We established a Japan-focused marketing campaign, getting away from a global one-size-fits-all approach. That had a big impact. The second factor was more flights. When I arrived in Japan in 1982, there were only four Qantas and four JAL flights a week. We managed to get ANA and Ansett Airlines on the route plus persuade JAL and Qantas to expand services and that which spurred enormous growth.

What do you think is the biggest factor now hindering greater numbers of Japanese visiting Australia?

Airline seat capacity. Last December, for example, travel agents in Japan couldn’t get the seats they required. Plus, Australians are increasingly travelling to Japan, so at certain times of the year, we can lose up to 80% of seats to Australians coming to Japan. In the short term, it is a major challenge.

Qantas will launch a Haneda-Sydney service on Aug 1, which will make a difference. The Japanese government requests airlines commencing Haneda services that they maintain the capacity they have had at Narita. Qantas, in addition to its new Haneda service, had a Narita slot it has to use, so it will start flying to Brisbane, which is a gateway to both the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Overall, I think the Haneda service will be an enormous benefit to us because Narita lacks a lot of connectivity to other cities in Japan.

Is it hard to get airlines flying new routes to Australia?

We work with state tourism organizations to create demand that hopefully will influence airlines to fly to new cities. New services are risky for airlines because they go through a period at the beginning where they have extra seat capacity to sell, so we tend to focus our marketing campaign on new service gateway cities. Partner airports also provide incentives.

Is Australia a strong repeat destination?

The rate is about 42%. It could be higher. I think the issue is the way Australia has been sold. In the past, Japanese people have been given the feeling that they can do everything in one trip. If they’ve seen the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru (Ayres Rock), the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Opera House and cuddled a koala, then they’ve done everything. The marketing of Australia by the industry tends to focus on those icons. Now, with the recent “Make a trip to Australia” digital campaign, the message is go to Australia, be yourself, relax and hang out.

How does your marketing reflect this?

We’ve taken Japanese celebrities to Australia and use their experiences in our campaigns. We take TV crews to Australia, averaging two a month. We go heavily for magazines because they are on shelves and in beauty salons, so we get a much longer exposure. Digital marketing and SNS have become our principal channels for communication. Our Facebook page with 170k fans is by far the leader among national tourist organisations. We also work very closely with travel agents, conducting joint campaigns with companies such as JTB, and H.I.S. We bring about 40-45 key buyers each year to our annual travel mart in Australia.

Are Japanese tourists among the biggest spenders?

Chinese are the biggest spenders right now. If you look at how much tourists spend per day, then Japanese are still very high. If you look at spend per visit, then the British spend more because they stay longer.

Are tourism numbers affected by news of terrorist attacks?

The last six months have been a bad time in general for the whole tourism industry. There have been travel advisories about Islamic State targets, but the perceived danger overseas hasn’t really affected tourism numbers to Australia. In Japan, we are still seen as a safe and secure destination.

What is a typical day for you?

I work from home in the morning for about an hour. I get here about 9 a.m. I’m probably out one third of the time, attending travel trade meetings. I don’t go to Korea as much as I used to, but I would probably speak with the country manager there 4-5 times a day. My day ends around 9 p.m. I may attend one dinner and two functions a week. Where in Australia is top of your to-go-to list?

A bareboat charter sailing the Whitsundays is top of my bucket list.

© Japan Today

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Oh well, he seems to know what he is doing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wine Route? and surely if the demand was there airlines would be queueing up to launch more services....?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have a house in Australia. It a place call Congo Beach of the far south coast of NSW ( Prefecture). It is a beautiful place to visit in Summer ( our winter). At low tide you can walk out on the reef and collect sea urchin and Abalone. Across the road there is a lagoon to swim and fish. The rest of the year I rent it out and this pays for the loan and my airfares. If you are Japanese and are in Australia during the summer drop in to Congo and have a fish with me.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

John-san do i have to be Japanese?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yes, I want to repay the great and genuous hospitality the Japanese people have given me since I move here 6 years ago.

-7 ( +2 / -8 )

Hmmmmm No mention of the prohibitive expense of Sydney ($17 for the 12 minute train ride from the airport to Sydney center), the high Australian Dollar, or the departure tax (Sydney about $70) Parking at the airport ($10 for 30 minutes) or the huge fuel surcharges.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Peace man - Fly into and out of Brisbane, Melbourne,GC or Cairns instead of Sydney if it is a concern. The costs are a fraction of those in Sydney. The Aussie dollar has dropped from 105 US to around 76 average these days. You can thank Abenomics for the fact yen is still weak against the Aussie. But I agree that Sydney airport parking is a highway robbery.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Aussies are great hosts. Everyone was so outgoing, sociable and appreciative of our visit to their country. Heck, I must've drank 10 "VB's" on the first day (on top of jet-lagg) LoL.

But the Aussies were so cool, i only paid for a couple of those. That was only the 1st day too!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Where were these so-called Japanese visiting? Cuz I didn't see any when I went to Sydney in May 2013 for the first time in eight years.Saw a lot of other Asians,but no Japanese.In fact my wife's friend living there said Japanese don't go to Sydney.Was so excited,but having lived there for almost ten years,by day 3 I was bored as... And that's the problem.It's not really a repeat destination.You do feel if you've seen one city,you've seen them all.Love the country,but those 3 city tours for 6-8 days is generally enough for Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Wc626. Are you sure you went to Australia? You only paid for a few drinks? You probably misunderstood the meaning of "Shout". Haha, just having a laugh. I'm glad you had a great time. We are nice people and good looking. VBs? If they were Crown Lagers you would probably hear your hosts say "money on the fridge."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Too expensive there. I am also not into flies which are a problem.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If you don,t smoke, drink alcohol, eat, drink, use transport, or stay a hotels it quite reasonable. Here is a list of prices. Vending machine drink = Y400, Smokes Y2000, A Case of 24 can 375ml beer Y5000, rental car Y15000 a day, fuel = Y 130 pre litre, Rump steak Y2000 Kilo, chicken Y1200 Kilo, rice Y350 kilo and a Bottle of nice wine Y2800, Bananas Y350 kilo Tomatoes Y600 kilo, Avacado Y350 and you can not get Wilkinson Spicy mouth ginger ale. If you avoid all of these items your holiday will be not so expensive.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

John -san LOL. I sure agree with you on some of those prices like smokes but not all. Rental car 15000yen a day ? Maybe when hiring an Audi or a Beemer?:) Any number of websites will provide you with a small Toyota/Hyundai etc. for about 50-60 bucks a day. Save yourself some mola:)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Marcelito Yes that is correct but if you travel and drop it off at a another site, that is price. I hire a little nissan from Sydney airport drop it off Moruya. it cost for one day Y15000 and only English GPS. I hire my car in Japan. It is a little Nissan Note with has English/ Japanese GPS and it cost only Y75,000 per month with insurance. Plus I get a tax break.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Hi John - San Yeah, that would explain price...you are pretty much getting the worst deal around since you pick up the car at Sydney airport without advanced booking and drop it off in the middle of nowhere. ( no offence to Moruya, I like the South Coast :-). As for the GPS, surely you wouldn't expect a Japanese language GPS in an Australian rental car?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes Marcolito I don,t need a Japanese speaking GPS. But Japanese do. This Article is about promoting Australia to the Japanese as a place to holiday. This communicating problem start as soon as you get of the your flight. I notice that 90% of the people on the Flight are Japanese. So you enter immigration and you are met by a person directing what to do and where to go, speaking in Bastardised form of English. This is the first problem a Japanese person will have even if they speak English. It is very hard to understand a Aussie, They speak fast with added slang that alien to the English speaking Japanese. I see this each time I arrive at any Australian airport. IT not a good welcome. Then the Japanese Tourist or business person pick up his rental car and finds out that the GPS is only English. Most often the they bring they own GPS because the Car rental company take on notice of prior complaints and will not ad this multi languish feature. If you decide to use public transport you can not purchase a ticket because the Ticketing office or machine can not speak Japanese or is not program for multi-lingo. If your Japanese you will find the food sub-standard. If your Japanese you will run into discrimination on a daily occurrence or see it acted out some other foreigner. The best way to Holiday in Australia if your Japanese is in a tour party.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

John San Have you rented a car with a Japanese GPS provided in a rental car in any other English speaking country? As for the daily discrimination - sorry but as someone who has worked in a J- market focused tourism industry for a number of years and with many J friends / could workers In Australia, I don't buy it. What kind of discrimination have you experienced on daily basis in Aus?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Marcelito have a look on youtube, videos of Aussie abusing foreigner because of there race and colour are post weekly. Just in the last week it been reported in the Australian News,The burning of a islamic church, the UN have condem a federal court decision to deny a Iranan man refugee status as very unfair. Have a look at the way they treat a few thousand refugees over the last decade compare to the 100 of thousands refugee that made it Europe. It been call by the UN as very unfair policy and that is being diplomatic. If that not discriminative whats is.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

There are definitely a few idiots in Aus. such as the stupid woman on you tube who yelled abuse on the train ( and was promptly told off by onlookers ) but that does not equal to "daily occurance " of widely spread discrimination. Australia is one of the most tolerant countries in the world as most migrants living there will concur - a widely accepted fact. The way " that Australia treates a few thousand refugees over the last decade? Are you referring to mandatory detention? The on e policy that stopped the human trafficking and boat people drowning at sea during the voyage?

"If that is not being discriminative what is?" I can give you a great example of what is. Japan which accepts a few dozen refugees annually ( as opposed to Australia which accepts tens of thousands every year )

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Australia under the Frazer Liberal Government had order ASIO agents to drill hole in boat hulls during the refugee exodus of South Vietnam which kill thousands of Refugee hoping it would deter the Refugees from leaving. Aussie refer to Refugee as boat people on a daily occurrence. Two day after the last elected (Liberal) Government a boat full of Refugee sink only 30 minutes from leaving port ( September 2013). Some 60 people died. Very suspicious if you consider their history in South Vietnam In these so Refugee Camp which the Australian Government want you wait for approval of a visa, the act of female circumcision is impose. Which is against Australian Human rights policy. Really mate you should do most research. I was born a 2nd generation Australian. I grow up in poverty. I was discourage from higher education due to my back ground. Austarlia has a class discrimination to which I was abuse with. I have also work in tourism for Japan Powder dealing the middle class Aussie. I was the tour adviser and guide. Most of these Aussie guest were very discriminative with complained about the Japanese on a daily occurrence. I would not advise any Japanese to holiday in Australia unless you can handle the two face attitude of the most Aussies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yes a daily occurrence because you use the term "boat people" which is dogmatic and considered as discriminative act by the Australian Human Right board. Do you use this term when it concerns refugee. Hanson commonly used this term during her political career. Hanson is considered a racist and was a member of the Liberal party for a decade. She even form a political party call One Nation which had a hugh following among the Austarlian. To say Aussie are not racist is way off. AS recent history has show that Hanson redneck values won her a seat in a Federal Liberal Government base on racism. I am saying if your going holiday in Australia be aware that there is problem with racism among its population. Like Most Aussie they say they are not racist but still use term like Boat People, then say you know what I mean.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I lived in Fremantle WA for a year 1994-1995. Life was good and cheap. Went back in 2005 and was shocked about not only about the high prices but also how built up in had become. Went again in 2014 and nearly had a stroke.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Far more expensive than Japan. I just could not afford to go again.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I feel sorry for those who can not afford it. It a great place to holiday but I stay clear of the cities. The people outside of the city the are total different and more accommodating,

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@john and how much is it for your generous hospitality for a bus load of j tourists!?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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