Virgin Australia and Tourism Australia have doubled their current annual tourism promotion spend under an existing MoU to $2 million each for the next three years, meaning their joint expenditure over that period will be $12 million in total.

The announcement doesn’t replace all of the $44 million in support and in cash that Qantas CEO Alan Joyce suspended over a similar period from the start of the next financial year in a failed attempt to dislodge his immediate predecessor as CEO at Qantas, Geoff Dixon, from what Joyce said was a conflicted role as the chair of the Federal Government’s co-operative national tourism promotion body.

However Qantas has not actually reduced its spending on tourism promotion, but redirected it from Tourism Australia to state tourism bodies.

Tourism Australia, which has been somewhat muted over the tourism benefits claimed for the proposed Qantas-Emirates business partnership, subsequently moved its full support behind Dixon, as did the Minister responsible for its activities and his appointment, Martin Ferguson.

What might we make of this? The main thing is that Virgin  Australia has doubled its commitment to an arrangement in which it works with Tourism Australia on promotional activities that they give their mutual support to, and tourism in Australia, as distinct from Tourism Australia, is getting as many dollars from Qantas as before.

For Qantas watchers, it is another sign that shock and awe tactics to grab headlines and bend government policy settings or courts to Qantas’s wishes have lost their currency. Death threats and mass strandings of passengers just don’t cut it anymore.


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