TASMANIA OR TANZANIA? BINDI IRWIN'S CRADLE MOUNTAIN HOLIDAY BLUNDER BY US MAGAZINE PEOPLE

Tasmania has had many tourism slogans over the years from 'Come down for air' to 'Go behind the scenery', but perhaps it should consider 'not to be confused with Tanzania'.

A major United States celebrity news publication has mistaken Australia's island state for the East African country after the world-famous Irwin family visited Cradle Mountain, with Bindi Irwin posting images from her family's trip on her Instagram, which has a following of 5.7 million people.

She made the trip to the Tasmanian national park with her husband Chandler, daughter Grace, brother Robert and mother Terri.

Attracting global attention, it was picked up by People which touts itself as the number one source for the "most trustworthy celebrity news".

It published a story about the trip, noting "Bindi was joined by her husband, daughter, mother and brother for the trip to the East African country".

"On Saturday, June 22, the Australian TV personality, 25, shared a carousel of photos on Instagram from a family vacation in the East African country, tagging the resort where they stayed, Cradle Mountain Lodge, in the last photo."

The People article was also posted to its 9.7 million followers on Facebook.

The wildlife loving family are dressed in puffer jackets in front of the iconic Dove Lake, and several social media followers aptly pointed out the current temperature in Tanzania was 29 degrees.

One person wrote "I once had a map of Australia that labelled Tasmania as Tanzania. A lot of people are mistaking the two and still getting paid".

Another asked: "Are they on top of Mt Kilimanjaro with a toddler?!?"

Celebrity reach

Those in the tourism business said the gaffe wasn't all bad news for Tasmania.

Amy Hills from the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania said it would still draw attention to Cradle Mountain as a destination.

"While it appears this an unfortunate mistake, as clearly Tasmania is a long way from Tanzania, in an odd way it gives us an ability to create even more buzz about our iconic Cradle Mountain," Ms Hills said.

"When influencers like Bindi Irwin share snapshots of our island, especially while enjoying it with friends and family, it has great reach and potential impact.

"Hopefully those reading the article will visit Bindi's actual post and see those snow-capped mountains and the iconic cradle landscape, sparking them to investigate their own trip to Tassie, during the winter months."

Associate professor Anne Hardy from the University of Tasmania's school of social sciences said influencers and celebrities had a huge impact on people's interest in places.

"Millions and millions will see their post, so they have a massive impact," she said.

She pointed to a summer visit to Cradle Mountain by actor Nicole Kidman.

"What we can see is when you have an influencers in a particular area, when people go to that area because of the influencer, they often try and mimic what the influencer has done," she said.

"It has a profound impact on where people go and what experiences they seek."

Opportunity beckons

Dr Hardy said the Tanzania mix-up could be a problem if people were seeking out an experience they couldn't find.

"From Tasmania's perspective there's a risk they'll lose tourists to Tanzania, but I think most people are smart enough to work it out provided there's not a Cradle Mountain over in Tanzania," she said.

She said Tasmania and Tanzania could work together like a twin-city arrangement.

"They could have a lost traveller agency if you've got travellers over in Tanzania seeking wombats?"

Dr Hardy said Tourism Tasmania could turn it into a new campaign.

"Tourism Tasmania is doing some really quirky and humorous marketing at the moment, so this story probably provides them with an opportunity," she said.

The agency recently unveiled its 'Odd Jobs campaign' where it invites tourists to apply for positions to organise oysters and walk wombats.

"Tourism Tasmania has become synonymous with super quirky marketing, so for me this provides them with another little opportunity and they can turn it around for the state," she said.

"We've always been known as quirky and unusual and this just plays into our brand strength."

Dr Hardy said in all seriousness, the Tasmanian tourism industry was having a more difficult time than usual, with this year's Dark Mofo festival — a large drawcard in winter — scaled down.

"There hasn't been as many visitors around, so any quirky, fun stories around the state from people like Bindi will help those operators who would really like more business at this time of the year," she said.

"The power of word of mouth and the power of an influencers is super important when people are making decisions on where to do."

Tasmania's Deputy Premier Michael Ferguson said he was "sorry People magazine haven't recently been to Tasmania like the Irwins have, we're so pleased for their time here in our state".

"I think People magazine might like to run a second column about how good it is here in Tassie, the best island on earth."

Mr Ferguson said he didn't think it would be damaging for Tasmania's brand.

"The interest is welcome in the sense that we get the same kind of questions from our friends in America who occasionally think the Tasmanian Devil is from a little island off Africa and it only stimulates conversation and makes people look into the truth of the matter and fall in love with our state."

Not the first time

Confusion about Tasmania and Tanzania seems common place, and the state's entry in online encyclopedia Wikipedia is quick to clear up the state is 'not to be confused with Tanzania'.

In 1988, a Pakistani cricketer was mistakenly sent to Tanzania instead of Tasmania where he was set to play cricket in Launceston for Old Scotch.

It was reported at the time that spin bowler Matiullah Khan said his travel agent confused the state with the African country and sent him halfway around the world, significantly delaying his arrival for the summer cricket season.

He did eventually arrive, but the saga caused anxiety for the club which was anticipating his arrival and Khan was said to be 'not happy' after spending four days in Tanzania before starting the trip again.

JackJumpers basketball coach Scott Roth has also joked that he didn't know where Tasmania was before taking on the inaugural coaching role, thinking he was headed to Tanzania to coach their basketball team.

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2024-06-25T05:53:25Z dg43tfdfdgfd