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Australia Tourism's Very, Very Bad Week

Where: Australia
November 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM | by | ()

For travel geeks who follow the often-dry travel industry, the intrigue surrounding l'affaire Tourism Australia—which has seen Australia's national flag carrier Qantas sever an agreement with Australia's official tourism agency over charges of sabotage—is kind of entertaining.

Here's the gist of it: the airline halted a $50 million deal between it and Tourism Australia over charges that Tourism Australia's chairman was involved in a "syndicate committed to unraveling Qantas' structure and direction," and that was trying to overthrow the current management and buy out the company. The partnership had lasted 40 years. Scandalous.

If you're actually in the travel industry, let alone involved with tourism boards that try to promote travel to Australia, the situation is much less amusing. In that case you're scrambling right now to deal with the fallout and telling newspapers about all the "damage" that needs to be "contained."

The actual controversy, such as it is, stems from dissatisfaction surrounding Qantas's mega-deal with Emirates. Apparently some people with links to Qantas were unhappy with the deal and a few of them, including allegedly the guy who runs Tourism Australia, tried to do something about it. Also apparently (and here we're just judging from the outside) they lost in a big way and generated a lot of collateral damage in the meantime.

And now for the punchline: as tech blog TNooz points out, the potential loss of $50 million may not be the most damaging thing to happen to Australian tourism this week. We're not going to give you too many details. The police are involved and, yes, it's already affecting tourism.

Either click on the link or watch the video below. Not difficult to see why:

[Photo: mdalmuld / Flickr]

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