The GIGA selfie

The GIGA selfie

Never mind your selfie sticks, Australia is now offering tourists massive selfies from hundreds of metres away.Tourism Australia hopes its GIGA...

A phone app that lets tourists take giant photos of themselves in iconic locations is the latest pitch to lure visitors to Australia

Never mind your selfie sticks, Australia is now offering tourists massive selfies from hundreds of metres away.Tourism Australia hopes its GIGA Selfies campaign will encourage Japanese tourists to come to Australia and use social media to share their experience with family and friends.

The selfie system works by having tourists stand on a designated spot and look towards a camera about 100 metres away.Using a smartphone app, tourists can direct the camera to record a short video, starting with a close-up and zooming out to reveal them standing in the surrounding landscape.

The videos are designed to be easily shared on social media thus encouraging conversation in Japan about Australia as a destination. Tourism Australia managing director John O'Sullivan said the high-tech system would appeal to the technologically savvy Japanese market.

"If you think about the selfie that you or I would normally take through our smartphone, this basically is that image on steroids," he said. "It has a longer range, it has far more high definition and really is able to bring a destination to life."

Sparking renewed tourisminterest

The Gold Coast was once a thriving hub of Japanese tourists but numbers have dwindled over the past decades.Tourism Australia data showed Japan was Australia's sixth largest inbound market in 2014 and fifth largest in terms of spending. It was tipped that tourist numbers would grow 10 per cent in 2015 and up to 20 per cent in 2016.

"What we are now starting to see is the green shoot of recovery," O'Sullivan said. He said the GIGA Selfies campaign was another way to connect with Japan's youth market. "No one tells a story about a trip or a destination better than the person experiencing the Gold Coast or other parts of Australia through their cell phone and through their selfies," he said.

Big, big selfies

The local Japanese community thinks the campaign will prove a hit with tourists. Australia Japan Society Queensland committee member Taeko Matsunaga was excited by the selfies.

She said the campaign tapped into the incredible popularity of social media among Japan's youth. "I wish I was a tourist from Japan ... I want to do it myself," she said.

"For the young people, selfies are really good because they want to let everybody know what they are doing. The campaign has been rolled out to the Japanese market on digital media, television and newspapers and through airlines and travel agents. Now in a country, with a selfie obsessed PM, taking cues from the idea, India can also boost its tourism.

By:Augustin Kurian

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