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$100 million international publicity boost showcases Australia as premier adventure destination

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Tourist Commission N E W S R E L E A S E

7 May 1998


Australia's sponsorship of the Discovery Eco-Challenge 1997 event is set to generate more than $100 million in publicity worldwide for Australia's image as the ultimate adventure tourism destination.

The Australian Tourist Commission’s Director. Consumer Marketing, Catriona Fraser said. “The event to be broadcast on the discovery Channel will result in more than $100 million worth of publicity worldwide, reaching an estimated audience of 100 million households in 143 countries."

Discovery Eco-Challenge - a unique, week long adventure sports endurance race was held during August last year in Tropical North Queensland. The event attracted almost 50 competitor teams from around the world and was filmed by the international cable television broadcaster - Discovery Channel.

The concept and approach to hold the event in Cairns and Tropical North Queensland last year was initiated by The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) and co-sponsored by the Queensland Government and Qantas Airways.

“The ATC recognised the huge potential of the event for Australia's adventure tourism image and approached Mark Burnett, founder of Eco-Challenge to hold the event outside the USA for the first time,” said Ms Fraser.

According to Burnett, key factors in the decision to bring Eco-Challenge Down Under included the diversity and beauty of Australia’s untouched terrain; the high level of government and tourism industry support and enthusiasm for the project; and the country’s widespread commitment to promoting environmentally-sensitive tourism and sustainable use of natural resources.

Ms Fraser said, "The Discovery Channel Eco-Challenge event attracted more than 800 international visitors into Cairns during the event and many of these visitors took up the opportunity to tour to other parts of the country post event.

‘ In addition, the staging of the event itself injected more than $7.5 million into the Australian economy.



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"Eco-Challenge was an excellent vehicle to promote some of the key attributes of ATC’s Brand Australia image globally.

"The disciplines involved in Eco-Challenge will motivate some of our key target groups to travel to Tropical North Queensland to experience the unique adventure tourism product in this area for themselves.

“The event due to air in Australia 24th May, will be featured in five hours of television broadcast on Discovery Channel internationally. As Discovery’s audience demographics are a perfect fit with the profile of potential travellers to Australia, the program will be beamed to the ATC’s core target maricet around the world.

"In addition to the Discovery broadcast, over 100 media from over 20 countries covered the event and were offered extensive touring opportunities within the region and to other parts of Australia.

'This international media contingent has already generated print and electronic media coverage on Australia which is estimated to be in excess of $30 million to date.

"The event has generated enormous promotional opportunities for Australia and Tropical North Queensland and the ATC’s strategy has been to ensure these continue well beyond the event itself," said Mr Morse.

Media Contact: Renata pombac, 02 9361 1307, 02 9360 1111 or 0417 294 973.

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