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June 25, 2019

The Price Of Tourism

Where Dreams Come True: Hong Kong or Shanghai?

Disneyland and Ocean Park are two major theme parks in Hong Kong. As two must-go amusement parks, price increase were announced by both parks in November and December 2015. While Disneyland increased its price by 8%, Ocean Park had an 11% increase. Different voices were heard from Hong Kong netizens and Mainland netizens on the topic.  

A downfall for Hong Kong

When Hong Kong Disneyland first announced its price increase in November 2015 it created a huge buzz across the internet, mostly commenting on related articles. Most Hong Kong netizens see Disneyland as a focus for tourists and is inconsiderate of local communities. As Shanghai Disneyland opening date approaches, both Hong Kong and Mainland netizens believe that there will be a significant downfall for Hong Kong Disneyland and the price increase would be the last opportunity for the park to perform well. As the ticket price reaches HK$539, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and even Ocean Park become the top choices for Hong Kong netizens. It is obvious that price is netizens’ main concern and they would rather spend a little more to travel across the border for Disneyland or go to Ocean Park for free on birthdays. 

The Other Side of Hong Kong Disneyland

However, a professor at the Nicholson School of Communication, Jonathan Matusitz, supports Disneyland by pointing out that Hong Kong Disneyland has made its effort to integrate itself into the community. The Hong Kong Disneyland ticket price was initially lowered following the Asian Financial Crisis and SARS epidemic. In another words, the price increase would be baby steps to bring the price point to Disneyland’s average. In the beginning Disneyland realized that the themes were not attracting Mainland visitors because they were not familiar with the habit and culture. As an effort to please Mainland visitors, Chinese culture was added to many aspects of the park. For example, Mickey was dressed in Red Mao suit and buildings were altered to fit the belief of Feng Shui (the ancient Chinese study of arrangements).

Hong Kong or Shanghai?

On February 3, 2016, Shanghai Disneyland announced its ticket prices at RMB370 (about HK$438) on non-peak days and RMB499 (about HK$591) on peak days. In another words, Shanghai is the cheapest Disneyland in the world on non-peak days, yet more expensive than Hong Kong Disneyland on peak days. Hot debate on the Disneyland topic rises once again between Hong Kong netizens and Mainland netizens after the announcement, mostly commenting on related articles. While Mainland netizens laugh and say that “nobody will go to Hong Kong this time”, Hong Kong netizens reply by saying “Thank you shanghai, Hong Kong Disneyland is ours again”. Two different voices were observed among Hong Kong netizens with one preferring Shanghai Disneyland regardless, and another saying it’s time to support Hong Kong Disneyland. Some netizens prefer Shanghai Disneyland because Hong Kong Disneyland is way too small and boring. Interestingly, the decrease of Mainland visitors becomes the priority for those who support Hong Kong Disneyland and the heavy price seems to be forgotten.

As more details on Shanghai Disneyland is yet to come, netizens’ preference between Shanghai and Hong Kong is expected to change with every new announcement. With less than 4 months to go, it will be interesting to see what Shanghai and Hong Kong will do to attract their new target visitors.

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Australia’s vast distances from west to east coasts, typically means most visitors to the country prioritise the east coast for their travels, aspiring for the touristic photos with either the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Great Ocean Road or the Great Barrier Reef. Ironically, none of these iconic landmarks were named the number one place to visit, but Margaret River – a town in the south-west of the wildflower state took the trophy. The badge of honour was awarded as the best place to visit in the Asia-pacific for 2019 by travel authority, Lonely Planet – trumping other idyllic places in New Zealand and Singapore.

It marks the first time an Australian tourism spot has taken the top award in fifteen years and according to Tourism WA, in the year ending December 2018, Margaret River alone had 1,690,800 visitors - an increase of 8.9 per cent on the previous year.

The New Sporting Capital

This accolade brings Western Australia even more into the spotlight.

Perth has recently taken the sporting capital crown from Melbourne (the original sporting capital) after hosting impressive crowd-pleasing events including the recent 2nd game of the State of Origin which attracted 15,000 interstate visitors. Other blockbuster slate of fixtures includes the English soccer giants Manchester United and Leeds United heading to Optus Stadium next month, followed by Perth’s first Bledisloe Cup match between the Wallabies and All Blacks in August. These are all on top of the weekly AFL fixtures. Heading into summer, the Fed Cup and ATP World Cup will bring the world’s best tennis stars to Perth as well as the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

The McGowan government will continue to seek out these world class events with recently expressing interest to bid for Australia to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup as well as potentially steal the NRL grand final from the east coast in 2021. As interstate visitors are spending an average $1006 for every trip and international tourists splashing out $2280 each visit, these events will result in a healthy injection of tourism into the local economy and will mark 2019 as the biggest year on record in sport for WA.

Local Tourism At Its Finest

Perth, Margaret River and their surrounding cities have received some serious praise in the past months, with over 900 media mentions across broadcast, online and print in the past month alone. With the cities hosting events such as Gourmet Escape in Margaret river, Truffle Kerfuffle, Jazz by the Bay in Dunsborough, the Drop Music Festival in Busselton and the Margaret River Pro to name a few, it is easy to understand the reasons why people from all over Australia and the world are taking time out to visit. Local hoteliers and Perth based tourism providers are also taking advantage of the increased exposure to WA tourism as their businesses thrive.

Perception And Reputation

Interestingly, the reputation and perception of Perth has also been a talking point in recent months with discussions around the quality of Perth for a place to live, work, visit, study and/or invest. These conversations have been particularly apparently across online channels with 67 per cent of media mentions occurring from 1st April through to 30th June 2019. Mentions across press were a distant 2nd with 30 per cent during this period. Despite there being largely positive views of Perth held by those who live outside WA, the Committee for Perth states Perth residents are slow to recommend the city to outsiders.

If you’d like to understand the media lens on any topic, brand or audience, get in touch with us today. 

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Blog
Go Wild In Western Australia

Australia’s vast distances from west to east coasts, typically means most visitors to the country prioritise the east coast for their travels, aspiring for the touristic photos with either the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Great Ocean Road or the Great Barrier Reef.

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Alert the media! Audiences are more informed than ever but can there be too much of a good thing? Experts say that the internet has democratised free speech, but when there is too much content to choose from, we're left overwhelmed, trying to escape a boundless house haunted by trolls, clickbait and conspiracy theorists.

 Isentia’s webinar, Misinformation: Stopping the Spread, brought together three expert communicators, journalists, data analysts and fighters of fake news to discuss how PR and comms professionals can best navigate misinformation.   

Follow these tips so your audiences find your communications and social media strategy is informed and reliable.

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1. Conserve public opinion that uses facts 

While the internet, including social media, can be a hub of helpful information from DIY projects, recipes and tips to fight misinformation… It's also an open platform for anyone to post and publicise anything. Pulsar CEO and Cofounder Fran D'Orazio encourages comms professionals to promote public opinion that's built on a contextually rich foundation so that the everyday scroller sees more than a title and a tagline. 

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2. Call out misinformation, even your own

Content creator @sydneyraz, known for his "things to know before you're in your 30s" content, corrected his misinformation post from 2021, where he said you could store your avocados in water to stop them browning. Reputable news outlets, food experts and the FDA responded to his original post, saying this avo hack could actually put you at risk of salmonella and listeria poisoning. Unless misinformation is called out and unreliable content is debunked, media consumers will struggle to know what is correct and who to trust.

3. Seek out the experts

If your misinformation senses are tingling, don't hesitate to send content and questions to groups with expertise in this area. Initiatives like RMIT Factlab and The Disinformation Project investigate misinformation on media platforms. RMIT Factlab takes misinformation Meta has identified, and then fact checks it. They then write an article, post it on their site, and provide it to Meta, who attaches the URL to the original fake news post - offering the opportunity for people to read the truth first. Throughout this process, Meta, using its algorithms, downgrades fake news, so it's not seen as often. "It is better to work with them [Meta], so some misinformation is downgraded, rather than not having a relationship with them," says Sushi Das, Assistant Director of RMIT Factlab. 

4. Share truth

Kate-Hannah of the Disinformation Project recommends equipping people with tools like counterspeech to use in discourse spaces. Think about how stories and fact-checking tools can divert a negative conversation and direct it onto the main issue or reveal more context. Empathy, humour and reminding perpetrators of ill-informed public messaging of the consequences to spreading hate or dangerous speech, are some communication strategies to use.

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5. Ensure a source is reliable 

"Everybody is sort of a publisher now," says Sushi Das. We all deserve to feel like we're in a safe space, but the ungovernable realm of the online world puts safety into question. We are all tapping into our smart devices for news content but the key is having high standards of the publishers and creators whose content you consume. Traditional media is still held to account with regulations to follow and trained journalists on staff - posing a strong force against misinformation. With standards, regulations and trained journalists, their outputs are a strong force against exposure to misinformation. The moment a news story goes online, the context is at risk of being blurred, whether a filter is used or not.

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[embed width="1080" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/10098209[embed]

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6. Bring context into the mix

What does context look like in a world still learning to understand the vague guidelines governing online spaces? The devil truly is in the details or the lack of them. Pulsar's recent partnership with Newsguard, "the Internet's trust tool," helps them rate outlets producing news content based on such specific details: their standards of accountability, do they gather info responsibly, and correct their own errors? The results contribute to a credibility score. Data powered by Pulsar show which brands are most susceptible to having misinformation about them distributed online - showing that every sector is vulnerable.

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7. Consider framing

There are multiple ways to frame a conversation or narrative. Kate-Hannah says, "there is a responsibility to tell the truth, but in ways that help people make good decisions." People need to be reading the news, not switching off. When reading or producing news content consider how you want readers to feel, but also what you want them to do with that information. Hannah during the webinar, referred to an instance in New Zealand where exposure in the city of Whangarei to Covid-19 spurred people to get tested even in the intense heat. Hannah holds journalists to account for their negative framing of that event, and offers an alternative, that those lining up to get tested in those conditions are ensuring the safety of their community.        

8. Prioritise what issues you’re going to speak to 

Fran D'Orazio says there is a big job in predicting what narratives will spin out of control, "if you try and attack all the different fronts that get opened on the web, it's difficult to make an impact." Brands must choose what battles to fight and prioritise who should be answered. Develop a response framework for your brand to use when it’s found to be in the middle of a misinformed online dispute. Answer these questions, who are those agitators that need a response and what should they, along with their followers, take away from your response? 

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9. Anticipate rather than confront 

Anticipate the impact of a narrative on particular audiences. If you confront an audience already exposed to a misinformation narrative, they are unlikely to change their mind. If you anticipate them and introduce that audience to a truthful record, you may manage to immunise them once they encounter the myths. 

10. Improve your media and news literacy

It may be your first impulse to hit that share button but "stop and think before you share anything. That share button is a trigger." Sushi Das says, "everyone needs to be aware of themselves." Question what you see and how the content makes you feel. Don't just read a headline and share it with your communities; use resources like First Draft and NewsWhip to better verify what you and your audiences are consuming online. 

Extensive research into misinformation is showing that people are getting splintered into different realities based on the news they consume and the algorithms that continue the pattern of content. By developing our media literacy and sharing the truth with our communities, experts say we can change people's minds before they engage with falsehoods. It Just goes to show, don't keep an avocado in water…or accept everything you see online as fact.

 If you see something that is mis or disinformation, send them to initiatives like, info@thedisinfoproject.org or RMIT Factlab.

Watch Isentia's webinar, "Misinformation: Stopping the Spread", for more.

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Blog
Building a Communications Strategy in the era of Misinformation
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Credit keeps the world economy moving, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names easily identifiable. As time passes by, we can see a definitive shift taking place, with each of these brands increasingly becoming part of conversations taking place around the world.

This Global Report, powered by Isentia and Pulsar's data, analyses international trends and zeroes in how credit card incentives are discussed in Singapore.

Fill up the form below to download the whitepaper and read more.

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Whitepaper
[Pulsar Report] Transactions & Reactions: The Online Credit Card Conversation

Credit keeps the world economy moving, with Visa, MasterCard and American Express brand names easily identifiable. This Global report sheds light on international trends and zeroing in on how credit card incentives are discussed in Singapore.

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The social trends and audience behind healthy drinking behaviour

While the pandemic and lockdowns made some people more likely to grab an alcoholic drink, audience interest in low alcohol or no alcohol drinks keeps growing online, both globally and in Australia. 

But what events are driving Australians towards the #sobercurious lifestyle? And which brands are piquing their interest?

[embed width="900" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8866524[/embed]

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According to data from our sister company Pulsar, social conversation and search interest in low-no-alcohol peaked in April '21-Oct '21 as the press announced a $1 million government grant (as part of the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy) was awarded to Modus Operandi Brewery to manufacture a non-alcoholic ale, NORT. The mentions of low/no-alcohol experienced a peak in June, leading to Dry July and Sober October.

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Mention metrics show that health and socialising are major motivational drivers for Australians when choosing a drink of the low/no-alcohol variety. The two are closely related, as prominent tags associated with low/no-alcohol mentions are #mindfuldrinking, #soberissexy, and #soberdating.

[embed width="900" height="450"]https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8949469[/embed]

Meanwhile, popular millennial and gen z media outlets like Fashion Journal and Refinery29 are reporting on how-tos and the benefits of sober dating. Young Australians are reading that by avoiding the booze, their anxiety is reduced, and they are setting themselves up for relationship success.

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Mental health improvements associated with the trend aren’t the only benefits being publicised; the physical gains are too. Australian media personality Erin Holland told Women’s Health Magazine that her preparation for the popular reality series SAS Australia involved a strict no-alcohol rule. Rugby union Wallaby player Radiko Samo credited a no-alcohol stance to his improved performance on the field.

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The data also suggests Australians genuinely enjoy the taste of low/no-alcohol beverages followed by ethical reasons. For centuries, abstinence from alcoholic drinking has been tied to ethical beliefs, but open discussion and acknowledgment of Australia’s amoral history keep this motivator current. Aboriginal-owned and led non-alcoholic craft brewers SOBAH advocate for this and aim to break toxic Indigenous stereotypes by providing “healing opportunities outside the reliance on government funding and control."

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Globally, drinks like beer, vodka, and whiskey tend to be more popular, but Australian consumers are hitting the spirits and mixers. Non-alcoholic cocktail bars were springing up across Australian metropolitan areas like Brunswick Aces in Melbourne, giving non-drinkers a chance to socialise without feeling left out. From hotels to online delivery services, hospitality businesses connect with Aussies’ healthier lifestyle choices. In particular, small-batch distilleries and breweries utilising bush tucker flavours are getting covered in widely read hospitality and entertainment sites like Broadsheet. 

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Australian-made distilleries are also proud to represent the small-batch, independent ethos which aligns with the Aussie tendency to support one-of-kind artisanal producers over big-name brands.

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British and Australian brands Seedlip and Lyre’s appear as the most mentioned across media platforms between July-November 21. In the news, Aussie founded Lyres had taken out best non-alcoholic spirit for their Italian spritz at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Seedlip took out two non-alcoholic spirit awards in the Australian Drinks Awards held in November 2021.

While we might expect fitness enthusiasts to be discussing the benefits of lowering alcohol consumption online, a deep dive into the different audiences talking about low alcohol brands reveals this is a popular conversation amongst more niche subcultures.

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Across twitter, discussions of non-alcohol spirits are popular amongst Australian bookworms. Popular non-alcoholic brands like Lyres and Seadrift use old-fashioned or themed storytelling as part of their branding language—an aesthetic that lets  literary lovers know they ”can enjoy the mirth and merriment of a soiree or shindig” without alcohol. This group is also keen to share with their community the book they are currently reading and a matching mocktail.

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This trend continues to grow as Aussies aspire for optimal performance at work, in their social and romantic lives, and for their overall wellness. The data shows Aussies celebrating and sharing their alcohol-free experiences with their digital communities, and with the backing from the government and smaller brands taking out big awards, this trend continues to offer Australians an opportunity to get on the wagon.

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This blog was produced using data from our sister company 
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Thought Leadership
Australia gets on the wagon: what’s driving low and no alcohol trends

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