Big Red Group completes acquisition of joint venture to solidify support of North Queensland tourism industry

Big Red Group completes acquisition of all shares in Experience Oz North Queensland from co-owner Destination Cairns Marketing

3 April 2024: Big Red Group, Australia and New Zealand’s largest experience marketplace, has completed the acquisition of a joint venture previously held with Destination Cairns Marketing (DCM).

The company has acquired DCM’s 50% share by mutual agreement, following two years of collaboration. 

The move reaffirms Big Red Group’s commitment to supporting local businesses and the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Region – in addition to providing unparalleled experiences to domestic and international customers.

Under the new structure, Destination Cairns Marketing will retain ownership and management of its tour desk operations in North Queensland, with General Manager Greg Ferguson continuing to lead these operations. 

The Local Agent management team will also remain intact, with Sam Ferguson taking up a new role as General Manager at Local Agent North Queensland, while Deborah Dominick will carry on her role as Business Development Manager. 

In addition, the appointment of Georgie Saddler in the newly created role of  Market Manager for North Queensland will help to bolster Big Red Group’s presence in the region for the mutual benefit of all industry partners.

David Anderson, CEO of Big Red Group, said:

With a series of both economic and extreme weather challenges, we know it’s been a particularly hard few years for experience operators in North Queensland. However, this acquisition has been two years in the making – and it underscores our belief in the boundless potential of NQ as a tourist destination. 

“We remain extremely committed to investing in the Cairns & Great Barrier Reef Region, fostering industry growth and supporting local experience operators. We’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to creating unforgettable experiences for tourists in NQ.”

Sam Ferguson, General Manager of Local Agent North Queensland said:

“This acquisition represents a significant milestone for Big Red Group – and I’m delighted to have taken up the role of GM for Local Agent North Queensland. We’ve been working together for some time now – and this feels like the next logical step as we continue to support the recovery and growth of this remarkable region.”

The acquisition comes hot on the heels of Big Red Group’s partnership with the Australian and Queensland governments for the ‘Tropical Dollars’ tourism recovery initiative, developed to pump much-needed funds back into the region’s visitor economy.

Pictured: David Anderson (L) and Sam Ferguson (R)

Big Red Group report uncovers ‘glimmers of hope’ for Australia’s tourism and experience industry despite recovery slow-down

The new ‘Seasonal Experiences Index’ reveals the state of the nation’s tourism and experience industry through the Spring/Summer season.

February 27 2024: Australians are continuing to invest in domestic tourism and experiences this year, despite ongoing economic uncertainty and the cost of living impacting discretionary spending habits. 

Launched today, the Seasonal Experiences Index: Spring/Summer 2024 report from Big Red Group found that while experience booking volume is down year-on-year, there are pockets of growth emerging across the nation. 

The report, which analyses booking data from over 750,000 experiences taken between September and January, has revealed that post-pandemic recovery, ‘revenge travel’ and government-backed stimulus projects helped deliver a bumper year for the industry in 2022 – and it’s been hard for many operators to match this pace in 2023.

However, there is cause for optimism, with key highlights including: 

  • China’s inbound rebound: Data points to a 111% increase in forward bookings over the Lunar New Year – with eastern markets leaning into experiences that hero Australian cruises (+8,175%), tours (+2,540%) and culture (+1,900%). 
  • Aussie culture vultures: Cultural events are driving bookings, with this year’s record-breaking Australian Open boosting Multi Passes (+436%), Spas (+444%) and Attractions (+4,518%), while Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is anticipated to have a similar impact. 
  • Domestic’s not dead: Despite borders reopening, domestic trip demand remains strong, with a 34.4% increase for City Getaways nationwide and 188% jump in Western Australia.
  • Australia’s gone al fresco: Picnics have grown by a quarter (23.5%) year-on-year – and it’s Gen-Z driving the trend, with ‘luxury’ and ‘mystery’ options proving popular for dates. 
  • Stimulus delivering strong results: While Christmas storms devastated the tourism and experience industry in Gold Coast, the government-backed GC Summer FUNds initiative helped to provide the region with a 279.9% boost on 2023’s bookings.
  • Getting more bang for their buck: Spending-savvy Aussies jump on multi-experience tours that offer multiple activities for one price tag, growing the category by 10.3% this year and boosting the popularity of local safaris, mountain trails, and even ghost tours.
  • Seasonality is still a key consideration: Despite the ongoing economic situation and consumer confidence faltering, the warmer months remain crucial for Australia’s tourism and experiences industry, with Spring/Summer outperforming Autumn/Winter by 21%. 

Commenting on the report, David Anderson, CEO & Co-Founder at Big Red Group, said:

“With post-pandemic recovery softening, economic uncertainty ongoing, and extreme weather events posing a persistent threat, there’s no doubt that Australia’s tourism and experiences industry is up against it at the moment – and this is reflective of the challenges people are facing across the nation.”

“However, data from our latest Seasonal Experiences Index has shown us that bright spots are emerging in each and every corner of the industry – and we remain optimistic about Australia’s ability to recover, albeit at a potentially stabilised rate. 

“With inbound tourism from China slowly but surely starting to rebound; Aussies leaning into experiences to help them build ‘once in a lifetime’ moments around key cultural events – such as the Australian Open or Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour;  and stimulus projects proving extremely effective in supporting tourism recovery for those who need it, there are bright spots of recovery and growth ahead. 

“And with over 750,000 experiences taken across RedBalloon, Adrenaline and Experience Oz so far this season – we’re confident that the appetite for stories over stuff remains. We don’t anticipate this fading any time soon.” 
To read the ‘Seasonal Experiences Index: Spring/Summer 2024’ report from Big Red Group, please click here.

Big Red Group supports campaign to boost Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tourism economy

Tropical Dollars initiative offers 2,500 vouchers worth $100 each for North Queensland residents to spend on Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tourism experiences.

February 1 2024: Big Red Group has partnered with the Australian and Queensland Governments to launch the ‘Tropical Dollars’ initiative today, supporting vital tourism recovery in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region following recent weather events. 

Utilising Big Red Group’s tech platform and well-known catalogue of Experience Oz experiences, the incentive will see 2,500 vouchers worth $100 each that North Queensland residents can spend on Cairns and Great Barrier Reef tourism experiences to help reinvigorate local businesses.

Announced by the Tourism Minister and Member for Cairns Michael Healy, residents are eligible to receive $100 off experiences and attractions when they spend a minimum of $200. The deals are available for travel until 30 April.

The launch of Tropical Dollars today follows a similar project supported by Big Red Group for the Gold Coast region in January, GC Summer FUNds. The project sold out in just six days and injected over $7 million into the local tourism economy.

Big Red Group Co-Founder and CEO David Anderson said Big Red Group is proud to once again use the Experience Oz tech platform to support tourism bounce back. 

“We’re proud to be supporting tourism recovery through the Tropical Dollars initiative.”

“Experience Oz was built to create an easy way for travellers to access the very best of what their destination has to offer – and the tech platform rolled out for this campaign offers deals that showcase the very best of Tropical North Queensland.”

“With 2,500 vouchers available, these experiences will be available to a broad audience – and we’re confident Australians will be keen to show their support for the local experience economy.”

Minister for Tourism, Michael Healy said the initiative is vital for restoring tourism, 

“Tropical North Queensland is such a jewel in our state and we’re committed to helping it shine again after the extreme weather.”

 “Tropical Dollars will not only benefit locals in this time of high cost of living pressures, but it will contribute to the recovery of our local tourism industry, building back the strength of this wonderful community.”

“It’s a great chance for locals to reacquaint themselves with all of the spectacular sights, tastes and sounds that this exceptional region is so well known for and to have a break after what’s been a very challenging time.

“And it is only phase one of this program, with more to come for North Queensland residents.

“It’s also so exciting to see Webjet offer such exceptional airfares. There’s never been a better excuse to get up here to Cairns, with cost of living at the forefront of everyone’s minds, these airfares won’t break the bank and will give welcome support to local jobs by bringing people to Cairns.”

Tropical Dollars deals will be available to collect at

Big Red Group supports campaign to inject $7.2m into Gold Coast’s experience economy

50,000 experience vouchers snapped up within one week to deliver a much-needed boost the region

Big Red Group, has supported the GC Summer FUNds campaign to inject $7.2m into Gold Coast’s experience economy.

Utilising its tech platform and well-known catalogue of Experience Oz experiences, Big Red Group  partnered with The Queensland Government and Destination Gold Coast to build a website offering thousands of vouchers for Australians to claim and use at Gold Coast-based experience operators. 

Launched last Monday (15 January), the GC Summer FUNds campaign proved popular with Queenslanders, and over just six days, the BRG-powered website saw over three million page views, with all 50,000 $50 vouchers claimed and over $7.2 million spent on attractions and experiences. 

The $2.5 million initiative, delivered in partnership by the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland, Experience Gold Coast and City of Gold Coast encouraged Queensland residents to support more than 180 tours, attractions and experiences impacted by weather events over the peak summer holiday period.

Big Red Group Co-Founder and CEO David Anderson said Big Red Group, through its Gold Coast based Experience Oz brand, was delighted to partner as a website and fulfilment partner for this incredible campaign. 

“Responding to the request for support, I’m very proud of the local team who set up the technology within a few days. We experienced unprecedented demand from the moment the campaign launched with up to 200,000 South East Queenslanders on the site at any moment rushing to book a range of activities and support the program to play their part to support tourism recovery in the Gold Coast,” said Mr Anderson.

“Vouchers have been redeemed at an incredible rate with up to 200 purchases per minute and selling out all 50,000 vouchers within six days. A success measured on many levels, but, in particular by the number of experience operators who have called our team, grateful for bookings at a time when they need them most.” Click here for more information about GC Summer FUNds.

Big Red Group’s supports tourism recovery in Gold Coast

Big Red Group’s supports tourism recovery in Gold Coast

Company lends support to tourism voucher giveaway by leading tech platform roll-out

January 16 2024: Big Red Group is proud to support vital tourism recovery in Gold Coast following storm damage sustained in December 2023.

Utilising its tech platform and well-known catalogue of Experience Oz experiences, the company has partnered with The Queensland Government and Destination Gold Coast to build a website offering thousands of vouchers for Australians to claim and use at Gold Coast-based experience operators.

The vouchers play an integral role in the ‘Summer FUNds’ project announced on Monday (15 January) by Queensland Premier Steven Miles, with 50,000 of them now on offer via the Summer FUNds website

Big Red Group rolled out an entirely new tech platform to stimulate demand in the region after a tough Christmas period and provide assistance to experience operators who need it most.

Big Red Group CEO and Co-Founder, David Anderson, said: 

“We’re proud to be supporting tourism recovery as we go further and do more for experience operators. Launching this tech platform to get support to the operators who need it most was essential, and this project proves that our technology can be utilised and adapted in multiple ways.

“We’ve seen unprecedented demand since the launch of the Summer FUNds website on Monday, which demonstrates that Aussies also want to play their part to give back too.”

The vouchers will give visitors $50 off some of the Gold Coast’s best attractions and experiences, including the major theme parks. The program is funded in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland and Experience Gold Coast.

It’s expected the boost will help the city’s thriving tourism industry bounce back quickly. The vouchers will be available for use until the end of March.

You can read more at ABC News.

Big Red Group’s ‘Experience Oz’ joins forces with Virgin Australia

Multi-year partnership offering millions of Australian travellers more choice, value and ease has been announced this week.

Big Red Group’s domestic travel brand, Experience Oz, and Virgin Australia have commenced a multi-year partnership giving millions of Australians better value, choice and more access to popular travel experiences when booking at  

Experience Oz, one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest tour and attractions marketplaces, covers upwards of 50 regions and supports over 3,000 experience operators, ranging from cruises, tours, activities and more. The new partnership aims to boost both domestic tourism and the experience economy by providing ease and additional benefits when booking travel and packaged experiences at

Amidst the high cost of living, fun-filled holidays for Australians will be more possible, with Experience Oz’s 4,000+ adventures available for Velocity members to book now using Points to pay for all or part of the booking with Points + Pay. Velocity members will now also have thousands of additional ways to earn Points. 

To celebrate the new partnership, any experience booking made at before 11:59pm AEST 27th November 2023, will go in the running to win their dream holiday with two Virgin Australia domestic return flights and a $1,000 Experience Oz voucher*. Plus, until midnight 27th November members will earn triple Points (9 Velocity Points) as part of a limited time promotion^.

Virgin Australia Group Chief Commercial Officer, David Emerson said partnering with one of the country’s largest experience marketplaces will give Virgin Australia guests and Velocity members more value and choice. 

“We are excited to be partnering with Experience Oz, marking a wonderful addition to the Virgin Australia family – one that will make the next family holiday more possible for millions of Australians,” said Mr Emerson. 

“From today, the partnership will give our 11.5 million Velocity members thousands of additional ways to earn and redeem Points at a time when value and getting more from your dollar has never been so important.   

“We are also proud to be supporting the experience economy and thousands of operators across the country by making it easier and more convenient for our guests to book a flight and experience all on our website,” he said. 

Big Red Group co-Founder and CEO, David Anderson said the partnership will continue to power the company’s mission of shifting the way people experience life. 

“We know that Australians will continue to prioritise travel, both for personal experience and to support the recovering industry,” Anderson said. 

“But with the cost of living crisis becoming more acute, identifying ways to increase the value of experiences, and to ensure travellers have the chance to make memories on trips that might be closer to home, is key. 

“Enabling Aussies to both earn and redeem Velocity Points when booking experiences is a key way we’re looking at creating more value for consumers. 

“We’re proud to partner with Virgin Australia to continue to support our 3,000 operator businesses, and to help Aussies continue to connect.”

With Big Red Group leading the growth of the experience economy locally, its partnership with Virgin Australia is the first of many to come for Experience Oz.

El Niño Summer

Big Red Group data reveals the impact of hot weather across the tourism and experience industry

With the BOM confirming that El Niño is underway, Aussies are planning to make the most of the warmer weather this summer.

But what does this mean for holidaymakers and the nation’s tourism and experience industry as we enter peak season?

Data from Big Red Group’s consumer brands, Adrenaline, RedBalloon, and Experience Oz, shines a light on the mixed fortunes of experience operators across the nation during the last El Niño event, with domestic tourism in NSW taking a significant hit, whilst QLD, WA, and TAS grew year-on-year.

The 2019-2020 summer season hit NSW particularly hard due to ongoing bushfires, with outdoor experiences down 27% across the board. 

Meanwhile, warm and dry states where there weren’t severe bushfires, including QLD, WA, and TAS, grew by +13%, +35% and +73% on average respectively. 

In fact, the warmer and drier weather drove Aussies en masse to the great outdoors, with cruises, water activities, and outdoor experiences seeing a +47% increase in bookings on average.

According to Big Red Group co-founder and CEO, David Anderson, while bushfires are an apparent cause for concern, the warmer and drier weather could actually have a positive effect on domestic tourism this year. 

“When the weather is warmer and drier people want to go out and experience, and the contrary is true. 

“When it’s wetter and colder there’s a direct correlation with weather-related refunds and people making last-minute decisions not to attend or in fact being denied the opportunity to do things because they’re unseasonal.

“The weather does have a really big impact on decision-making in planning and in the moment.”

Mr Anderson also predicts Aussies will look to do activities earlier and later in the day to avoid the hottest part of the day.

“If I was out trying to do things I would look for activities in the early morning and late afternoon and take advantage of those cooler conditions.

“Amazing nature tours, early morning kayaking, there are lots of things that are nicer to do in the early morning or at dusk as opposed to in the middle of the day.

“Notwithstanding any active threats to safety, I’d be out there exploring and taking advantage of the fine weather, experiencing and enjoying life.”

You can read more on the story at

Big Red Group Sponsors Tourist Attractions and Major Tourist Attractions at the 2023 South Australian Tourism Awards

This year we were excited to sponsor two categories at the South Australian Tourism Awards on Friday the 3rd of November 2023.

Matthew Dommenz our SA Market Manager and Andrew Hutchinson our GM Supply and Memberships donned their best to represent Big Red Group on the night in presenting the awards for Tourist Attractions and Major Tourist Attractions.

Celebrating some of South Australia’s best tourism operators – many of whom use Adrenaline, RedBalloon, and Experience Oz platforms – we were especially pleased to support these two categories at the ceremony.

A big congratulations to;

🏆 Major Tourist Attractions: Monarto Safari Park and Zoos South Australia (Winner), Adelaide Oval (Silver)

🏆 Tourist Attractions: d’Arenberg (Winner), Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society Inc. (Silver)

Thank you to the Tourism Industry Council South Australia for hosting the awards ceremony and congratulations again to all of the winners and nominees!

Experience OZ partnership with Vivid Sydney

Experience Oz and Vivid Sydney encouraged visitors to light up at night, experience more by day

Vivid Sydney, Australia’s largest festival, has not only dazzled crowds with its stunning light displays but has also become a lifeline for struggling local businesses. This year, the festival’s Local Business Program, supported by Experience Oz, has proven to be a game-changer for small and medium-sized businesses hit hard by lockdowns and typically facing quieter periods during the colder months.

Lockdowns in Sydney took a toll on the economy, estimated at a staggering $7 billion, with small businesses suffering the most. Recognising the importance of supporting these businesses, Vivid Sydney’s Local Business Program stepped in to provide a boost. 

With a record-breaking attendance of over 3.28 million, this year’s festival presented a golden opportunity for local businesses to capture the attention of inbound tourists.

Experience Oz played a vital role as the key sponsor, supporting experience operators during the tourism bounceback. The experience marketplace facilitated the sale of nearly 13,000 Vivid-related experiences for its supplier community in Sydney, doubling revenue for its suppliers with an impressive 101% year-on-year growth.

One standout example of the program’s success is Sydney Princess Cruises, a participant in the Local Business Program. They not only sold out almost all their 100-person cruises during the festival but also had to add two additional cruises to meet the overwhelming demand.

Vivid Sydney’s Local Business Program and Experience Oz’s sponsorship provided businesses with a platform to showcase their unique experiences and exclusive offers, leveraging Vivid Sydney’s engaged audience. Local business participants received access to various promotional assets such as LED screens, window decals, and posters professionally installed to attract customers. 

The impact is evident in the numbers: 

  • Compared to the previous year, the volume of experiences sold grew threefold, up by an impressive 203%. 
  • The revenue generated also doubled, reaching a remarkable 101% increase year-on-year. 
  • From March 1 to June 1, a total of 12,728 Vivid-themed experiences were sold, amounting to a value of $786,751, compared to 4,199 experiences sold, worth $390,766, in the same period the previous year.

By providing much-needed support to local businesses and boosting the tourism economy, Vivid Sydney’s Local Business Program and Experience Oz have not only illuminated the city but also brightened the future of small businesses in Sydney during the colder months.

Tiquets and Headout Partnership

Big Red Group adds Tiquets and Headout as distribution partners

According to recent Macquarie Research, households globally are looking to invest more in travel and leisure, so experience suppliers are innovating their platforms to make the customer booking experience efficient.

Big Red Group has announced its partnerships with both Tiqets and Headout as part of an initiative to provide more global customers with Australian experiences and content.

Founded in Amsterdam, Tiqets is an online booking platform for museums and attractions that connects travellers worldwide with more ways to experience culture. Meanwhile, Headout provides an online platform for locals and tourists globally to discover and book tours, excursions, day trips and get last-minute tickets to major tourist attractions, museums, shows and events. B

Big Red Group is known to be an ANZ specialist on a global basis, so the two platforms have partnered with the organisation to gain more traction in the market. They will also be implementing BRG’s application programming interface (API) to integrate ANZ experience content across their own platforms.

Big Red Group Chief Executive Officer, David Anderson, comments:

“Launching these partners means we’re able to grow our distribution and amplify Australian content to a global audience. We’re excited to bring our experience operator community more customers who want to experience Australian life when they visit.”