Hugh-Jackman-AustraliaTIME to wade into the latest debate over Australia’s tourism marketing, sparked by comments from Gold Coast industry heavies Paul Donovan and Martin Winter that Tourism Australia is a “basket case” that doesn’t have a clue about how to drive business, followed by a poll suggesting actor Hugh Jackman (pictured) should be the next “face” of Australian tourism.

It’s a completely stupid idea – one I must add that hasn’t been proposed by Tourism Australia. The industry doesn’t need a spokesman. It needs a bottom up approach that leverages and sells product. The days of glitzy TV campaigns – like Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ ads – are long gone. Too much money, too little product sold. It should be all about the Internet, deals and access.

Leverage airfare wars like the one that’s happening on the Pacific as Delta, Qantas, V Australia and United Airlines cut fares to the bone. Adopt selling strategies over feel good ‘Brand Australia’ marketing. Build bridges with key stakeholders. Be innovative. Sell hotel rooms. Get people here. Make Australian tourism the star, not an individual.

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