Tourism Tasmania takes racers into the wilds

Tourism Tasmania takes racers into the wilds
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Tourism Tasmania wins unprecedented exposure from sponsoring the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. Today, we find out the story behind the company’s involvement in the challenge.

But first… Team B&T is taking on the 2013 Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. We are blogging live from the event, covering the highs and lows of the five-day adventure race, and looking at the inside story on the significant branding and sponsorship around the event. Here’s Day Four’s round-up.  

Day four: Mount Field

Team B&T got its first time penalty today. Not for cheating, not for making mistakes, but for missing a cut-off time.

As determined as we were to collect all the checkpoints (pictured) and finish every leg each day, today beat us, by a frustrating 25 minutes.

And we weren’t the only ones. Eighteen teams out of the 34 competing in the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge missed the 4pm cut off for commencing kayaking.

It was a six hour penalty and our first so far in the race (competitors can pick up time penalties for missing checkpoints, venturing more than 50 metres away from their team mate, missing legs altogether, disobeying course rules, etc) so we’ll take it on the chin.

Day four started out with a brutal mountain bike ride – up, yes up, a mountain for about 15km. We were rewarded at the top with a stunning 11km trek/run around Mount Field, taking in beautiful mountain lakes and rugged wilderness.

Above: Collecting a checkpoint at Mount Field

Next was the fun part – the descent down the track we had ridden up earlier in the morning.

After managing not to stack it at high speed, we faced an orienteering challenge before hopping back on our bikes, knowing that by the time we arrived at the paddle start line we would be too late. It was (somewhat selfishly) comforting to be greeted by a host of other teams who had also struggled to make the cut off time.

Tomorrow is the final day of the Webber Challenge, and we are taking on Hobart. Once again, it promises to be a tough, stunning day.  

Long-term challenge supporters

B&T caught up with Tourism Tasmania’s marketing director, Kathryn McCann (right), to find out about the organisation’s long-term support of the event.

Tourism Tasmania has supported the Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge ever since its first outing in 2003, and has been a sponsor since 2011.

And the company gets a lot out of it, as McCann explained: “Our support of this event has created an opportunity to use the event, its competitors, its sponsors, Mark Webber’s global profile and his glowing endorsement of Tasmania to validate our national and international status as a nature-based tourism destination, and a location for high quality adventure tourism activity, especially in key overseas markets like the UK, Europe and Asia. 

“In addition to the profile our destination receives through the event itself as well as Mark’s personal endorsement of Tasmania, we also receive further recognition via the event’s high profile competitors, many of whom are celebrities or household names in the world of adventure tourism or extreme events.”

The people at Tourism Tasmania are partly to blame for what is promising to be a very rugged journey into the wilderness for this year’s competitors, along the state’s west coast – in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

“The course helps us to profile the variety of amazing tourism products that are connected with this unique World Heritage location,” added McCann.

Sponsorships are not a big part of Tourism Tasmania’s marketing strategy, said McCann, but this one is a little different. “Rather than us continuing to tell people how wonderful Tasmania is as an adventure tourism destination, the opportunity arose through this event to actually stage an extreme adventure event in Tasmania, and in doing so, capitalise on Mark’s global F1 profile to promote Tassie’s adventure tourism status,” she said.

Part of Tourism Tasmania’s involvement sees it work closely with two teams who are taking part in this year’s Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge – the Discovertasmania.com.au team (comprising world adventure sports champions Richard Ussher and Braden Currie) and Team Lonely Planet (comprising Lonely Planet Australia staff Georgina Leslie and David Gorvett).

“Working with the teams helps us to create additional PR, online and social media activity around the event, and extend the Tasmanian tourism brand,” added McCann.

Team B&T, consisting of B&T features editor Lucy Clark and her racing partner Dom Collie, is taking on the challenge. It runs over five day and covers 350 kilometres, across the western Tasmania wilderness. It features kayaking, mountain biking, trekking and running – all self-navigated.

Tune in on Monday to find out how they fare in the final push to the finish line. 

Here's the video of Day Three yesterday at Strahan:

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