Virgin, TA strengthen ties with marketing boost

Virgin, TA strengthen ties with marketing boost
By admin

The two-year old marketing partnership between Virgin Australia and Tourism Australia has become significantly stronger as both parties committed to doubling their investment, taking the value of the three-year deal to $16 million.

Announced at the opening of the Australian Tourism Exchange in Cairns, the increase will see $8 million invested in the 2014/15 financial year with the additional funds to support the partnership’s overall focus on key inbound visitor markets to Australia.

It is the first time that Virgin has been the platinum airline sponsor for ATE, a position traditionally held by Qantas prior to the high-profile rift between the airline and Tourism Australia last year.

Virgin was the airline sponsor for the tourism body’s bi-annual business events showcase, Dreamtime and supported the Best Jobs in the World campaign. They also recently collaborated on the Someday competition – Tourism Australia’s biggest ever airline partnership in the US.

Virgin chief customer officer Mark Hassell described the partnership as “extremely strong” and identified huge potential going forward.

“I see creativity going from strength to strength. We can really take marketing in a different direction,” he said.

“The additional funds are about extending our marketing presence, marketing footprint and our ability to promote Australia in the most positive way.”

The ramped up push also provides Virgin with a platform to unlock “real value” in its strategic airline partners and growing virtual network, he added.

TA managing director John O’Sullivan said the funding would initially be ear-marked for the US and New Zealand markets.

“But where there are logical opportunities, the partnership is flexible enough to look at those particular areas,” he said.

“This increase in funding recognises the opportunity for further growth from some of our highest volume and most valuable markets.”

He highlighted the achievements of the partnership to date as “very tangible” with Someday attracting close to half a million entries, with American visitors spending three times as long on TA’s digital assets as a result of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Tourism and Transport Forum highlighted Virgin Australia’s decision to double its cooperative marketing spend with Tourism Australia is a sign of its confidence in the tourism marketing body, supporting the case for its to be “properly funded” in tomorrow night’s budget.

“The doubling of this investment is a clear demonstration that the tourism industry is completely behind Tourism Australia and its activities, which include a range of cooperative marketing partnerships,” chief executive Ken Morrison said.

 “The tourism industry is calling on the Abbott government to use tomorrow night’s budget to recognise the visitor economy by ensuring that Tourism Australia is adequately funded and that it remains an independent agency run by experts at arm’s length from government.”

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