Tourism Australia has inked fresh marketing partnerships with Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways worth a combined $80 million over the next five years.
Virgin will contribute $25 million towards promoting Australia in key overseas markets such as the United States, with the peak tourism body tipping in a further $25 million. The deal with Virgin, which first came on board as a partner three years ago, represented Tourism Australia’s largest commercial partnership with an airline.
“We look forward to working closely with our partners and Tourism Australia to market Australia on the world stage in innovative and powerful ways,” Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said in a statement on Monday.
“This renewed deal demonstrates a significant increase in our investment and commitment to inbound tourism.”
In addition to promotion and marketing activity, Virgin will support trade and business events such as the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE).
Meanwhile, Tourism Australia and Etihad will spend a combined $30 million on promoting inbound tourism from key markets in Europe, including new campaigns in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy.
The Abu Dhabi-based carrier, which started working with Tourism Australia as part of a three-year deal worth $12 million in November 2012, will also provide flights for trade and business events, as well as for travel familiarisation visits by foreign journalists to Australia.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan said the new memorandum of understanding, which was signed at the ATE event in Melbourne on Monday, reinforced the airline’s commitment to Australia.
“It’s pleasing to see our continuing investment in Australian tourism attracting more and more visitors each year and delivering economic benefits to tourism operators Australia-wide,” Hogan said in a statement.
“Together we add real muscle to Tourism Australia’s efforts to promote tourism from overseas and enable visitors to see more of Australia while here.”
Tourism Australia chief executive John O’Sullivan said building strong and sustainable relationships airline partners was a key plank in the peak tourism body’s growth strategy.
“Nowhere has this approach been more productive than in our evolving partnership with Virgin Australia, particularly some of the great recent work we’ve been doing together in the United States,” O’Sullivan said in a statement.
On Etihad, O’Sullivan said: “Through their strong global footprint, particularly within Europe and their global partnerships, Etihad Airways is now one of Tourism Australia’s most important aviation partners, actively supporting some of our most important international campaigns and playing a critical role feeding traffic to Australia’s key international gateways.”
Virgin came on board with Tourism Australia in 2012 after Qantas withdrew its funding support for the tourism body in favour of working with state-based tourism organisations.
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said at the time the airline could no longer work with Tourism Australia given its chairman Geoff Dixon was among a group of investors who were pushing for change at the Flying Kangaroo.