Mayday Project: Fly Free to Australia And Spend Our Money... Please

16 March 2009

In an attempt to rouse the tourism industry in Australia from its slumber, the Australian Federal Government is due to soon implement "Mayday Project", a provisional plan to offer free air fares paid for by the Australian Government to boost tourism in view of the industry taking a remarkable hit by the decrease of tourists compared to last year.

The downside? Those willing to take the offer will be required to spend around AU$5000 (£2500) within the country to bolster local shops, hotels and restaurants.

As Times Online pointed out just yesterday, a flight from London to Sydney or Perth via Qantas has been reduced to £499 with Qantas (via Trailfinders; 0845 050 5892), while you could also fly via AirAsia from Stansted to Perth with a stopover in Kuala Lumpur for under £200, raising whether this is really a hot or cold deal.

Independent Tourism Holdings' Australian Innovation Director (we need one of those), Mr. Glenn Millen, who came up with the idea and said that the money could be redirected from the Government's pre-existing tourism marketing budget:

"We can really limit the impact of the recessionary slide on tourism through this. We can try and hold the numbers that we were at and that would be a really good scenario or, if there is a Santa Claus, we might increase the numbers against the trend."

Millen said Tourism Queensland's "Best Job In The World" promotion has already generated $70 million in free publicity, an example he said of the type of innovative tourism project that succeeded during tough economic times. The Government is expecting the same degree of positive reaction from tourists whose disposable incomes has lessen due to the economic crisis around the world.

What do you think? Is a free flight down south worth the pledge to splurge $5,000 on hotels and restaurants?

[Times Online]


  • DarkKnight
    How do they know you will spend the money? maybe you can just get there and say "oops i forgot my cash"?
  • bernie k.
    Brilliant idea would deffinately spend $5000 AD on holiday in OZ
  • Steve C.
    Hi - Steve Cusworth, Commercial Director of Independent Tourism Holdings here. An update on the Mayday Project - we are currently putting the project to Government and industry and with the interest and support we have been receiving, we hope to have some more information soon. In response to the post by DarkKnight, a condition of the free flight will be a requirement to have pre-booked a range of accommodation and tour services up to the value of the minimum spend and any balance will be available upon arrival in Australia in the form of a debit card. So, you need to spend a bit before you leave and then show up to collect the rest of your cash to spend on important tourism investments such as cocktails, loud shirts and surfboard hire! With respect to the cheap flights on offer - that is great and we hope people will jump on them and come down to Australia. For those who are sort of thinking about it or maybe thinking of only going to Spain or Florida - would a free flight to Australia tempt you our way?
  • sean n.
    sounds good for next year
  • Daryl
    We've actually started a small campaign to try to encourage the government to support this. We think it's brilliant. Just started this evening about 30 minutes ago with a facebook group. We've got four actions to take (oh, go on, try at least one !). 1. Join the facebook group at (your web site appears to not allow posting of http addresses in comments - assuming it's spam protection), so go to Facebook and search groups for Support Mayday Project 2. Post a personalized message to Kevin Rudd's (the PM's) webpage in the Get in Touch with Me form saying "I'll come to Australia and spend $AU5000 if you'll fly me there - support the Mayday Project!" 3. Follow Kevin Rudd on Twitter and send him the same message with this hashcode "I'll come to Australia and spend $AU5000 if you'll fly me there - support the Mayday Project! #maydayproject" 4. Invite your facebook friends that may be interested to join the group. Quite honestly, I think it's inspired as a demand stimulus and a hell of a lot sight better than throwing money at banks so they can pay fat bonuses to failed execs.
  • Marie
    I think this is a brilliant project - I had intended travelling to Australia in the Summer of 2009 with two of my children, but because of the recession and the cost involived I had decided to postpone it. I would definetely spend if not double the 5000 australian dollars between acccomodation, meals, attractions etc. Will definetly take part, bring it on or else I will just have to holiday again in the sun on a package deal to the Canaries etc -. May as well leave my money in Australia. Keep me posted as to when I can sign up. Cheers Marie
  • ANDY B.
    I would be interested in the free flights offer, but what I would like to know is the $5000 spend, would that apply to a family of 3.
  • Sam B.
    Yep, me and my family would go. We are just about to start planning a 2 month trip for next winter and the cost for airline tickets is a main issue deciding where to go. 2 adults and 2 kids, flying from Sweden to Asia/Australia gives a ticket cost of aprox. 2400 Euro. Let me know when the "mayday project" is launched.
  • lorraine
    I am going RTW and have already booked my flights although only last week, I have not booked any accomodation as yet so would I be able to claim for my flights to and around australia if the project is agreed? I felt that I had to book the flights because it is a very complicated itinery San Fran/Queenstown/Sydney/Adelaide/Alice/Ayres/Cairns/Brisbane/Hong kong and I did not want to be disappointed as I thought if the mayday project does go ahead then it is going to be difficult booking this itinery.
  • Tracey
    I am interested in this, but have a few questions i'd need answering before i signed up! I'm going to be travelling to Aus over the xmas/nye period, would the free flights apply to this period, or only during certain times of the year? Also, is it $5000 AUD per person, or $5000 AUD whether there is one of you, or ten.. if so, then the solo traveller is definately getting a raw deal!
  • Anna
    We are planning on flying to Australia from Italy before the end of the year. Please keep us posted on the Mayday Project - we are interested!!
  • Stefan
    Hi, we (family of 3) are plannning to travel in Oz for 6 months! Any news from the May-Day-Project? Cheers, Stefan
  • LilTigerette
    I have a better idea here perhaps. Since the AU Gov. has a certain budget for this type of thing anyway, why not choose a group of individuals and families and provide them with the debit card with the spending amount as well, and hang on something in the way of a reality show on how these folks spent their time which would then showcase all the various choices you have to offer. Show real people having a terrific time doing what they want on your dime, sorta like the TV show in the US on "what not to wear". However, this is what to do in 1001 places to visit before you die. Reality shows are very "in" right now. People are curious about what other people do, what they eat, what they wear and where they vacation. I don't know, but sounds good to me. ; ) A terrific night-time Reality-Informercial. ; )

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