A new tourism ad encouraging Aussies to give the gift of travel this holiday season has left comedian Hamish Blake a little red-faced after getting publicly rejected by NRL great Johnathan Thurston.
In the light-hearted ad, Hamish and wife Zoe can be seen sitting in a restaurant overlooking Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge tossing up what to get good mate Andy Lee for Christmas.
Stuck for ideas, Hamish reaches out to a number of Aussie celebs for input – including actor Hugh Sheridan, outback wrangler Matt Wright, comedian Hannah Gadsby and Rugby League legend Johnathan Thurston.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
They all provide a number of epic gift suggestions from an adventurous airboat ride in the northern territory to a relaxing lakeside getaway spent sipping wine by the fire.
But Hamish fails to get any input from Maroons great Thurston, who brutally rejects his call while kayaking in the picturesque Fitzroy Island.
Pretending to still be on the line, Hamish continues to fake the phone call with Thurston until his wife Zoe quickly catches on.
“He didn’t answer, did he?” Zoe smirks in the clip.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Phillipa Harrison said the new $8 million campaign hopes to inspire Aussies to buy travel-related Christmas presents for their friends and family this year.
“The Gift of Travel is about encouraging Australians to give more meaningful gifts this holiday season and in doing so give back to tourism operators and communities who have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Harrison said.
“Last year, Australians spent, on average, $770 on gifts during the holiday season equating to $16 billion in total.
“If we can encourage people to spend just a fraction of that on travel instead it would be a multi-billion dollar boost for the tourism industry.”
Ms Harrison said research shows there are “high levels of pent-up tourism demand in Australia”.
“So by giving the gift of travel, people can be sure they are giving a gift that people will want. So, rather than giving socks give a surfing lesson or a walking tour”.