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BOC Wrapped 2022

Updated: May 1

Today marks our last day in the office for 2022, and wow what a bloody big year it’s been! When we posted our first blog post back in February on the places our owls were travelling to, and the work we planned to accomplish, we didn’t expect it to blow up this much.

We were  happy to be surprised.


Australian borders opened to international tourists for the first time in two years on February 21, and everyone started to breathe a little easier. And only a month later, our client Experience Co launched their new Reef Magic Pontoon and Marine Science lab on Moore Reef off Cairns. The $7 million project proved to be not only a shot in the arm for tourism in the region but also a win for the marine science community who have had access to the purpose-built onboard science laboratory for projects like the coral spawning observation. What an exciting project to work on and the media thought so too!


March opened with the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, and our nest raised a glass in celebration. With the release of the WGEA Report showing that the pay gap still sits at 22.8% in Australia, we felt it was right to highlight the work that women are doing in the travel and tourism industry; a sector where work still needs to be done. We also shared resources on Endometriosis Awareness Month a few days later. The theme for IWD this year was #breakthebias, and with a 1 in 9 rate of Endo impacting Aussie women with an average of 9 years to diagnose; we wanted to share what we could do to those suffering in silence.


Late March also saw the first direct Jetstar Sydney to Uluru flight in too long!. Currently they now run four flights a week to the red centre supporting a domestic tourism resurgence for interest in Indigenous culture. We headed over there ourselves in March with a fabulous group of 13 media to celebrate the first anniversary of the Gallery of Central Australia and the tenth anniversary of the Tali Wiru dining experience at Ayers Rock Resort. We were so moved to be part of the celebrations!


Also in March, we were delighted to hear that our client Turtle Island in Fiji was recognised in the Conde Nast Traveller 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards as the top resort in Fiji.


In April, borders opened to Aotearoa (NZ) to Aussies for the first time since covid started which was super exciting and, as a result, we were able to reconnect with our clients at Ngai Tahu and support their PR needs.


The maritime borders finally re-opened on 17 April and our client, Australian Cruise Association breathed a huge sigh of relief as the country welcomed back the first international ship into Sydney waters!


Speaking of cruise, April also saw us welcome new clients, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises! We have been managing their communications programs in Australia and New Zealand since that time. We are so proud of the work that we have done with them and are currently in the middle of celebrating the arrival of their ships Oceania Regatta and Seven Seas Explorer to Australia.


May was marked by the kick off night for ATE hosted by Tourism Australia at the Crown in Sydney’s CBD. So delighted to attend and re-connect with industry friends we haven’t seen in the last two years!


In May we also managed the PR for the CEO Skydive for Mental Health on behalf of client Skydive Australia (Experience Co) This is the second year our client hadpartnered with Black Dog Institute and we are so incredibly proud of this program.


In June/July our Social Media Manager, Liv, travelledoverseas for the first time in three years to work on an archaeological site in Malta. She shared some amazing photos with us, and we would be lying if we said we weren’t jealous. The European summer sun also saw CEO owl Jill and Admin Manager Maria travel to Italy and Spain! We are so glad that some of our team got the chance to spread their wings overseas. It has been way too long.


August brought exciting opportunities too, along with the spring change! We represented our team at the Australian Society for Travel Writers’ Trivia night. We didn’t win but we will be coming back for the Lamp of Knowledge trophy next year! Huge shoutout to client Crowne Plaza Sydney Coogee Beach for hosting the shenanigans and to our mates at Ultimate Wineries for providing some beautiful wines.


Speaking of good wine and food, August saw our overseas travellers do a top-10 wrap up of the best eateries they visited in Europe! From pintxos to paella, we were drooling at the photos. We also had the chance to attend Cruise 360 at the Hyatt Regency with our industry friends, CLIA as well as clients, ACA and Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Both the panel discussions and the pastries were fabulous! Finally, we celebrated the 15-year anniversary of Traveller which was a pretty fabulous way to end the month.


In September we worked with our client Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia to support the inaugural Gala Dinner and Fundraiser for the Anangu Communities Foundation. This was incredibly important for us, and all proceeds went to their local communities for healthcare and education, projects. This was one of our favourite events this year.


Late September also saw us welcome Oceania Cruise’s CEO Howard Sherman with a beautiful night of jazz and art at the MCA! We were excited to support his visit, with media enjoying a three-course meal and a chance to discuss new opportunities in 2023 (watch this space!). Later that week, Barking Owl had the chance to work with our other cruise client, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. We collaborated with David Jones to celebrate their 30th anniversary and to showcase the new cruise-themed windows at the Elizabeth Street store, where people could pop up to Level 7 and enjoy a glass of French bubbly while getting advice on their next cruise travel adventures. A match made in heaven.


October brought a little bit of sadness as we said goodbye to one of our owls, Katie. We have been excited to follow her travels though, and look forward to seeing what 2023 brings for her! We of course celebrated with some champagne to make sure that it was the correct send-off…


While we had a loss, we also had some incredible gains this year! We welcomed new owls to the nest, Saeedah and Cath. Saeedah is joining us in an administrative role while Cath is our new Finance Manager. We are so grateful to have them on board and have loved working with them so far.


We also need to acknowledge an amazing team of freelancers who have helped us get all this amazing work completed – thankyou Lizzie, Nat, Teresa, Jen and Cat.  What bloody marvels you all are!


Finally, we also saw the opening of Treetops’ next location at Cape Tribulation! The exciting new venture from Experience Co features ziplines and new challenges sure to excite both big as well as little kids alike. Definitely pay them a visit this holiday...


We also had the chance to support the launch of the new ‘Come and Say G’Day’ campaign with Tourism Australia! Our mates over at Ayers Rock Resort top and tailed the ad, which featured Ruby the Roo voiced by Rose Byrne. The short film featured amazing shots of Australia’s iconic landmarks and heritage sites which highlight the beauty that we have to offer.


November saw the Great Barrier Reef Biology teams and Reef Magic crew at Experience Co featured in Zac Efron’s new season of his documentary ‘Down To Earth’! The episode features our little part of the world at Moore Reef and if you haven’t seen it on Netflix, go check it out!


And now, we are here. Last week saw the arrival of Oceania Cruise’s Regatta in Sydney’s port, for the first time since 2019. She will circumnavigate Australia and then move on throughout the region before her international departure in early 2023. And to round the year out Seven Seas Explorer will dock in Sydney for the first time on 29 December - what an incredible way to finish off the calendar.


It’s now December 21, and today is our final day in the office. It’s also four days until Christmas which is utterly insane! We are so proud of all the work our team has done this year, but more importantly, we cannot wait to see what happens in 2023.


Thanks to all our clients and our industry and media friends for your support. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and we hope you all have a safe, happy and healthy holiday.  The travel industry has kicked off again at an amazing pace and now it’s time to recharge the batteries before we re-group in 2023.


From your owls in the nest,


- Barking Owl Communications x

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