In a major boost for the local tourism industry, one of China’s most-watched television shows is coming to WA.
Hunan TV’s Where Are We Going, Dad? is a massive ratings hit in China, attracting more than 75 million viewers for every two-hour episode.
And those viewers will get to see the beauty of the Margaret River region when the final two episodes of the show’s third season are filmed at the end of this month.Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland said the agency’s team in China had spent more than a year negotiating the deal.
“There has been a lot of work behind the scenes to convince them to come along to WA,” she said. “It’s going to be great exposure for what we have to offer.”
Ms Buckland said about 200 cast and crew members were expected to travel to Margaret River for 10 days of filming and will not visit any other parts of Australia.
She said a confidentiality agreement prevented her from disclosing how much the deal cost, but confirmed it was “quite a good deal”.
“It’s costing substantially less than it would cost us to run an advertising campaign in China, let’s just put it that way,” she said.
Ms Buckland hoped the exposure would put WA on the radar of millions of prospective Chinese tourists who are unaware of the state’s charms.
“We’ve got the access with the airlines, we’ve got a lot of our businesses in WA ready to receive Chinese visitors and we have had a massive increase — about a doubling — of Chinese visitors over the last couple of years,” she said.
“But really, what we have got to do is get WA and what we have to offer in front of more prospective Chinese visitors.”
The reality TV show stars five celebrity fathers and their children who travel to far-flung places and attempt challenges.
Acting Tourism Minister John Day said the WA visit would be the only international location used by the show this season.
“By investing in this popular TV show, with its massive audience, we expect to raise awareness of WA as a holiday destination, and in particular, highlight its natural beauty and airline accessibility to the Chinese market,” he said.
Where Are We Going, Dad? has been one of China’s top three shows since it premiered in October 2013. The two episodes featuring WA will air in China on October 23 and 30.