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Australia's new tourism ad featuring Kylie Minogue, Ash Barty, and Shane Warne cost $15 million. Here's why the government reckons it's worth every cent.

Jack Derwin

15 million bucks is quite a bit of cash.

Even in Sydney or Melbourne's roaring property market that chunk of change could net you a house or two. But it also happens to be the amount paid for Tourism Australia's latest campaign targeting the United Kingdom.

As with all projections of Australia abroad, people were quick to question whether the money was well-spent.

https://twitter.com/ellinjaa/status/1210058260155224067

The 'Matesong' ad features some of Australia's most iconic personalities including singer Kylie Minogue, tennis world number one Ash Barty, spin king Shane Warne, comedian Adam Hills, and Olympic swimmer / fish Ian Thorpe encouraging sun-starved Brits to come and visit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMAq8F8N2Fg

Tourism Australia says it is the biggest UK-targeted push in a decade. For the star-studded line-up alone, the price tag looks at least part justified. Especially considering Minogue, a former Neighbours star, remains ever-popular in her adopted home.

But it's the other numbers behind the advertising push that really renders the price tag sensible.

The Brits are the nation's fourth biggest tourism market, with more than 718,000 Poms visiting every year, according to official figures. They also spend big when they're here.

“British tourists traditionally stay longer and spend more than other international travellers – on average staying 32 nights in Australia and spending close to $5000 per trip," Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement announcing the campaign.

That lucrative market has been put under strain however as Brexit anxiety keeps more Brits at home.

"It’s no secret that the UK has been going through a period of uncertainty, and this has had an impact on outbound travel, including to Australia where numbers have dipped in recent months," Birmingham said.

“It is crucial that we continue to drive growth from this market, both first timer travellers but also repeat visitors whose familiarity means that they are more likely to want to travel further and deeper into our regions."

Of course, Britain is not alone when it comes to being a nation under strain. Australia's economy looks stuck in the doldrums, with this year's dismal Christmas spend doing little to change that. Consider too the impact on country areas, as bushfires and drought ravage the regions.

"We know that 44 cents of every tourism dollar is now spent in the regions, confirming regional tourism’s importance to regional economies across Australia," Assistant Regional Tourism Minister Jonno Duniam said in the same statement.

"A strong tourism industry means more jobs, greater investment and better infrastructure in our regions, and the Philausophy campaign is just one of the actions we are taking to ensure our tourism sector continues to grow."

Given those strains, the latest push -- if successful -- could help bring much-needed relief.

Of course, that's only if visitors can see some of our landmarks through the smoke.

https://twitter.com/mootpointer/status/1210012868445257733

UPDATE: Having run for just 10 days, the 'Matesong' ad has been paused, with Tourism Australia citing the bushfires as the reason.