Country crooner Keith Urban was the guest of honour at the Qantas Spirit of Australia Party this week, one of the final tie-ups between the airline and Tourism Australia.
The Los Angeles party forms part of the annual G’Day USA event, a Tourism Australia initiative which aims to promote travel to Down Under and celebrate Australian success in America.
This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary and is understood to be the final time Qantas will be involved in the event with the Qantas and TA marketing partnership set to conclude in June this year.
Simon Hickey, chief executive officer of Qantas International, said: “Qantas remains by far the largest private contributor to Australian tourism, with a multi-million dollar marketing commitment, and we look forward to building on that investment during 2013.”
“We will be maximising our relationship with tourism operators and state tourism authorities to ensure that we provide the strongest possible support for Australia’s destination marketing effort.”
The Qantas and TA relationship went bust in late November after it was revealed ex-Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon, who now chairs the TA board, is part of a group of shareholders pushing for change in the airline’s strategic direction.
Qantas contributes $50m to TA’s marketing activity; a figure Tourism Australia said represents only 6% of its budget.
The airline will work with TA on planned marketing activity until June, with Qantas still committed to the Australian Tourism Exchange to be held in Sydney in April.
Following the row, Virgin moved to fill the gap and has since inked a deal that will see it increase its commitment to TA from $6m to $12m over the next three financial years.
The Qantas Spirit of Australia party was held at the Montage Hotel in LA on January 9.
Urban was joined by fellow famous faces including John Travolta, Miranda Kerr and Liam Hemsworth at the event.
Urban said: “It’s a privilege to be able to lend my support to promoting the beauty and culture of Australia.”
“Qantas has been the driving force behind that effort. We’re thrilled to have them partnering with us for our Australian tour.”