Australia had high hopes for the epic film Australia, which stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. The film hit theaters last November. A new marketing campaign based around the film was described as the highest profile and most sophisticated campaign ever undertaken by Tourism Australia. Unfortunately the film has underperformed at the box office and the critical reception has been mixed at best.
Reuters reports that foreign visitor numbers to Australia will hit their lowest point for two decades and to date the marketing effort based on the film has failed to deflect global recession fallout. Australia’s Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson has responded that the new campaign has only just begun and it will help Australia cope with the impact of a global downturn.
It’s predicted that the number of tourists traveling to Australia will decline from 5.56 million in 2008 to 5.33 million in 2009. Tourism Australia said the biggest decline would be in visitors from Japan, expected to plummet almost 30 percent from 573,000 in 2007 to an anticipated 407,000 in 2009. Tourism from China would also stall as Beijing's breakneck GDP growth slowed, crimping visitor numbers to 352,000 from 358,000 last year.
Fewer Australians will head overseas as the falling local dollar makes outbound travel more expensive.