In the 6 months between July and December 2008, over 20,800 Australian working holiday visas were granted to UK citizens; a boost of over 3,000 when compared to the same period of time in 2007. The reason for this dramatic increase? Social networking.
These vibrant online worlds of blogging, photo-adding and kudos-giving might seem far removed from the somewhat drier culture of visa processing to the casual observer. However, Tourism Australia and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have made a decent effort of combining the two with their working holidaymaker-targeted pages on MySpace and Bebo.
Speaking of the success of the social networking initiatives, Tourism Australia's General Manager for the UK and Europe, Rodney Harrex said: “These campaigns are getting cut through with our target audience and the results are showing in the increased applications for, and grants of, the Australian Working Holiday Visa.”
However, isn't there something missing? While MySpace and Bebo might still have their loyal followers, it's Facebook that has been firmly established as the dominant social network. Bewilderingly, Tourism Australia has yet to establish a presence on Facebook for any keen potential working holidaymakers... which is where we've stepped in.
As you can see from the screenshot above, we've established the Australian Working Holiday Facebook page. What's more, and as testament to the social spirit of working holidaymakers, we've already gained almost 70 fans without even officially announcing the page (many of whom have already begun chatting about their plans Down Under).
The Facebook page will act as an accompaniment of sorts to our Platinum Card website, which was established as an exclusive hub of information and offers for Australian Visa Bureau working holiday clients. However, with the Facebook page, we'll be able to reach a new level of interactivity with the many working holidaymakers we help on the road to Oz. We'be be updating our Facebook page on a regular basis, and will be on hand to answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, feel free to add us to your Facebook and join in the conversation!
- Tom Blackett is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau
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