The reality is that today’s demanding tourists (particularly the typical high-yield, FIT long-haul tourists who visit Australia) overwhelmingly aspire to experience authentic ‘bragging rights’ differences when they travel. In physical infrastructure and its design; in interacting with locals; in food/heritage/culture/customs, and the natural environment.

The more those variables work synergistically to reflect an authentically aspirational ‘brand’ of unique cultural experiences, the more compellingly seductive they will be to the world’s tourists.

Having a crystal clear understanding of the demographics and psychographics (the primal motivations, wants and desires) of these prized high-yield tourists is essential to the critical task of creating a unique, long-term brand positioning strategy to successfully drive consumer patronage and repeat business.

And nearly half of the burgeoning one million plus Chinese tourists (whose numbers are forecast to double by 2025) to Australia are repeat visitors. (LEK/TTF ‘How the China Tourism Boom is transforming Australia’ May 2016)

The importance of marrying a unique long term brand positioning to the primal motivations and desires of these key travellers cannot be over-emphasised.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most successful examples of the brilliant strategic cohesion of unique tourism infrastructure with uniquely motivating long-term brand positioning.

When announcing its World Heritage listing in 2007, UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission chose this compellingly powerful ‘brand’ citation:

“Sydney Opera House stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind”

And the tourism world emphatically agrees. The Opera House is one of the world’s most visited tourism icons, attracting over 8.5 million visitors annually. Which is about the same as Le Louvre and significantly more than the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal.

The celebrated American architect Frank Gehry – a member of UNESCO’s World Heritage Commission – eulogized Joern Utzon on his death in 2008 as having created a building that changed the image of an entire country.’

A Deloitte Access Economics study on the value of the Opera House in 2013 found that audiences placed an extraordinary 38% extra ‘value’ on the experience being at the SOH than the quality of the performance or the ticket price itself.

Such is the motivational potency of aspirational branding to tourists, with the iconic SOH being the most instantly recognised and valued symbol of Australia to the world. Deloitte concluded that the SOH was ‘considered internationally as a more relevant and esteemed brand than Australia itself.’

The lesson from the Sydney Opera House’s extraordinary global success is clear.

Today, more than ever, embracing genuine breakthrough creativity and ingenuity to differentiate new quality tourism infrastructure, experiences and brands to the hugely competitive and discerning world tourism market, are absolutely vital to their success.

Only by so doing can we confidently ensure we are accurately matching proposed new tourism infrastructure/amenities/facilities and experiences (underpinned with compelling strategic brand positioning) to the desires, dreams and expectations of the increasingly demanding, increasingly sophisticated high-yield world tourist.

That very affluent market is increasingly walking away from the modern world’s plethora of derivative and unoriginal tourism infrastructure and experiences. Building more of the soulless, monolithic concrete-tower homogeneity that increasingly characterises many of the world’s newer destinations, is exactly what Australia’s tourism developers should avoid.