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And the people’s choice is…Barossa, South Australia to host international 2014 Social Media Tourism Symposium

25 February 2014

The Barossa, South Australia has been selected as the host destination for the 2014 Social Media Tourism Symposium #SoMeT14AU.  Facing up against Geelong in a nail-biting final voting round, the Barossa finished 104 votes ahead, with the final votes tally at Barossa 8,924 to Geelong 8,820.  The sensational win for South Australia will bring two hundred social media tourism marketers to the Barossa in July 2014, to attend the world’s premier social media conference for destination marketing.  

Rodney Harrex, CEO of South Australian Tourism Commission is enthusiastic about the potential for SA:   ‘This is a great opportunity for South Australia to showcase our State and its tourism experiences to the world. We’re looking forward to welcoming national and international delegates to the Barossa and get them talking about our premium food and wine destinations. This win is also a good example of the successes our state can achieve when industry and consumers work together to support our regions.”

 The #SoMeT14AU conference organisers shortlisted the Barossa as a finalist alongside Mackay, Geelong and Townsville, however in true digital marketing style, the final destination was determined by an online voting process.  Round One voting occurring from Mon 17 Feb through Wed Feb 19 resulted in the elimination of Mackay and Townsville.  The final voting round on Friday Feb 21 saw the South Australian public (and supporters around the globe) rally to show their support for the Barossa and for SA.  The groundswell of support saw the Barossa’s bid develop momentum throughout the day, fuelled by tweets, posts and shares from iconic SA businesses, media organisations and personalities, universities, sporting clubs, local Barossans and supporters worldwide. 

Annemaree Clementson, Digital Marketing Strategist for Tourism Barossa described the final victory ‘as proof of the power of a united community on line and on the ground’.  Chris Pfeiffer, Chairperson, Tourism Barossa, reflected on the impact of the campaign, saying ‘The process for bidding for the #SoMeTAU14 symposium has seen immediate benefit for the Barossa and SA.  An immediate increase in social media coverage, a fantastic sense of camaraderie and support from Adelaide and regional SA, and a growing awareness for our tourism operators of the marketing power of social media.’

The Barossa’s bid was a joint project of regional stakeholders including Barossa Food, Barossa Grape & Wine Association, Light Regional Council, Regional Development Australia Barossa, The Barossa Council, Tourism Barossa, Novotel Barossa Valley Resort and the Adelaide Convention Bureau.  HWR Media & Communications provided fantastic creative and strategic support, producing the artwork for the bid.  Images for the campaign were provided by Barossa Grape & Wine, taken by iconic Barossa photographer Dragan Radocaj.

This opportunity to host #SoMeT14AU comes hard on the heels of recent success for the Barossa and South Australia, with South Australian Tourism Commission’s Barossa Be Consumed campaign achieving stunning results in increased visitation, as well as international accolades.  Rod Harrex underscored the significance of #SoMeT14AU for developing SA’s profile, stating ‘The South Australian Tourism Commission has a strong focus on growing the digital footprint for the state and events like these create invaluable content and endorsement which are accessible to our global audience .’  

According to the Adelaide Convention Bureau calculator, the estimated economic state benefit for hosting #SoMeT14AU is $0.5 million and 807 bed nights.  Tourism Barossa chair Chris Pfeiffer said hosting destination marketing specialists in the Barossa will offer a tremendous return, both to the local region and to wider South Australia.  “As well as the significant economic benefit that every large conference brings to a region, the marketing value from the global reach of these social media marketers will be immense,” he said. “Experts in the field of destination marketing will be sharing their experiences to a global audience, instantaneously.” 


For images, interviews or further information contact:

Cathy Wills, Regional Tourism Manager, Tourism Barossa,  0412 214 844

Annemaree Clementson, Digital Marketing Strategist, Barossa Grape & Wine Association/Tourism Barossa,, 0400 262 250

Gemma Nelson, Business Development Manager, Adelaide Convention Bureau, 0407 331 749



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