The kickoff to Australia’s $36 million tourist campaign happened at, of all places, the Super Bowl. Their one-minute ad (part of a 5-episode arc) is part of a major push to get American tourists to Australia and to grow the USA market from $4 billion to $6 billion by 2020. Except where otherwise noted, statistics in this article are taken from this summary of Tourism Australia’s research findings.
$1.5 million of the package came from the Export and Regional Wine Support Package, a $50 million package allocated by the Australian government to drive tourism and exports in the wine sector.
Australia has seen both the spending potential of the American tourist and the promise of its own wine country to attract tourist dollars. Americans are familiar with Australia as an outdoor destination while few associate it with food and wine. But research by Tourism Australia found that visitors to Australia have put Australia in second place across 15 major markets for its food and wine experiences. If the tourism industry’s effort is successful, it will mean $860 million more from Americans this year alone. Not bad for $36 million and a Super Bowl ad.
Of course, most Americans think “Sydney” when they think of touring Australia, and it’s no wonder. Beautiful views, an unbeatable selection of restaurants and a wide selection of tourist attractions and landmarks make it a top destination for American tourists.
Commonwealth Funds portfolio manager Robert Scharar recently returned from a trip to Sydney. He stayed at Pier One Sydney Harbour, a Marriott Autograph hotel located at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The location not only offers exquisite views of the city and Walsh Bay but also easy access to some of the city’s most famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House. Located adjacent to the historic and popular The Rocks area, the hotel is within walking distance or an easy Water Taxi ride of most of Sydney’s attractions.
The fall in the Australian dollar/ US Exchange rate makes a visit to Australia much less expensive for an American tourist and will benefit the Australian tourism sector and related companies. At the same time, what could be referred to as a revolving door in Prime Ministers provides a backdrop for other problems in the Australian economy such as high cost of electricity, slipping consumer confidence and a decline in housing prices. Australia’s economy, however, is growing at a strong annual rate of 3.4%, after better-than expected growth in the June 2018 quarter.
Scharar used his visit to meet with Australian public company executives and conduct discussions with people across different industry segments to get firsthand insights regarding where some of the pitfalls and opportunities exist for a US investor in Australian equities.