Queensland looks to Bluey and Robert Irwin to boost tourist numbers

Queensland looks to Bluey and Robert Irwin to boost tourist numbers
  • PublishedJune 2, 2024

The Queensland government is tapping into the global popularity of local sensation Bluey with its biggest tourism campaign in a decade, built around the game of “keepy uppy”.

The theme borrows from an episode of the hit show that first aired in 2018, when Bluey and Bingo took turns in keeping a red balloon from touching the ground.

The $9.2 million campaign —”Bluey’s world, for real life” — features images from the state’s 13 tourist hotspots including Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and the Great Barrier Reef.

Robert Irwin, from Australia Zoo, fronts the television advertisement, inviting viewers to “come play”.

The online campaign is expected to reach New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Singapore — markets where the blue heeler family is popular.

The government’s hoping to attract an extra 1.3 million holidaymakers to the state by June 2025 — both from interstate and worldwide — spending an extra $1.7 billion.

The Heeler family, Bluey, Bingo, Chilli and Bandit
The Heeler family: Bluey, Bingo, Chilli and Bandit.

Launching the campaign on Sunday, Premier Steven Miles touted the state’s “best lifestyle, best beaches, “best cities”.

“For the past six years, Bluey and the backdrop of Brisbane has captivated audiences globally and now it’s time to bring the world here to Queensland — Bluey’s world for real life,” Mr Miles said.

When asked what he likes most about Bluey, Mr Miles said: “I just love how much fun they have. Sometimes I watch that and wish I was a bit more fun like Bluey’s dad.”

Bluey is available in 60 countries, including the United States, the UK and China. It was co-produced by the ABC and BBC Studios, which has the international broadcast and commercial rights.

To hammer home the concept, the launch was accompanied by a world record attempt for the biggest game of “keepy uppy” — an easy target as no similar attempts have been made.

(In 2020, serial record breaker David Rush kept three balloons in the air for a record one hour, 12 minutes and 50 seconds, beating the previous record by over half an hour, according to Guinness World Records).

Post-Covid travel rebound

Queensland tourist numbers have rebounded since the state opened its borders after the pandemic, with most international visitors from New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

China was Queensland’s most-lucrative market before the pandemic, but that market has been slow to recover after an extended ban on outbound travel amid an economic downturn.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Patricia O’Callaghan said the state’s tourism numbers were “solid” compared to other states, but some metrics were “softening”.

“We know that cost of living is changing decisions, so we have to work even harder to put Queensland top of mind when it comes to being a holiday destination,” Ms O’Callaghan said.

Another attempt to capitalise on the popularity of Bluey is set to open in November.

Bluey’s World promises visitors an immersive experience, with soundscape interactive play features and guided experiences.

Tourism and Events Queensland expects the attraction to generate more than $18 million for the visitor economy.


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