Aussie ironman woos Japanese women

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The Independent Online

The world champion ironman is on a whistle-stop tour of Japan, campaigning in his Speedos and life-saving cap to encourage more young Japanese women to visit Australia.



Shannon Eckstein appeared outside the trendy Shibuya 109 shopping center on Wednesday -- one of the busiest intersections in the Japanese capital -- and has a series of other appearances planned before returning to Australia on Thursday evening, a trip planned by Tourism Australia.

"It was a bit chilly for Shannon at the Shibuya event today as he was only wearing his Speedos and a cap, but he was valiant to the end," said Ben Holt, marketing manager for Tourism Australia in Japan. "We had lots of passers-by stopping to hear about the campaign, particularly the young women when Shannon came out."

Tourism Australia has tailor-made the new Aussie Oji campaign for the Japanese market with "oji" meaning someone who is an expert at something, Hills said, and is aiming to attract women in their 20s and 30s.

"It makes sense when we want to provide information on all the great experiences that a vistor can have when they come to Australia to use genuine Australians to promote that," said Hills. "This age group covers the women who are making the decisions on where they are going with their friends or partners and Shannon is helping to promote that."

Eckstein, from the Gold Coast, is also the captain of the Australian lifesaving team.

The campaign includes an online competition and will underline Australia's abundance of attractions, ranging from world heritage sites, marathons, spas, natural cosmetics, Aboriginal culture, the beach lifestyle, the outback, food, wine, wildlife and self-drive holidays.

Tourism Australia is also offering a prize of a tailor-made trip to Australia for one person with a value of Y1 million (€7,466).

The winner will have the option of staying in a luxury hotel, cruise the Great Barrier Reef for a month or take a trip around the entire country, Hill said.

The campaign is also promoting an online navigator to research and plan their perfect Australian Special Interest Tour, which they are then also able to book online.