Viral koala-meets-butterfly video wins tourism award

By AG Staff Writer 11 January 2017
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A ridiculously cute video of Willow the koala’s interaction with a butterfly has been voted best social media post for showcasing Australia to the world.

THIS WEEK, TOURISM Australia and Qantas announced the winners of their G’Day USA competition, in which the Australian tourism industry was invited to submit their top social posts from 2016, and a panel of judges picked the best for showcasing Australia as a holiday destination.

The prize went to Symbio Wildlife Park in Helensburgh, NSW, for the above video shared in October. The video, which shows a butterfly ‘photobombing’ Willow the koala joey’s photoshoot, quickly went viral, with over 38 million views on Symbio and UNILAD‘s social media channels, plus an additional 2.3 million views and over 74,000 reactions on Tourism Australia‘s Facebook page.

The video was covered by global media outlets including Fox News, BBC Worldwide, Good Morning America and CNN. Symbio Wildlife Park’s marketing manager Kevin Fallon confirmed that following the video, visitation to the park increased by 66 per cent from any previous October. Overall, the park has seen a 96 per cent increase in visitation since 2014-15, which Kevin said he attributes primarily to their success on social media.

Other accolades went to the Australian Reptile Park for its video of George the orphaned wombat with his carer Tim Faulkner, the Park’s general manager and 2015 Australian Geographic Conservationist of the Year.

The cute video was picked up by more than 20 national and international news outlets, including the Daily Telegraph, Buzzfeed and Channel 10. It was watched 32 million times on Tourism Australia’s Facebook page alone.

Recognition was also given to the photo deemed to have done the best job of selling Australia to the rest of the world on social media. The below image was shared by the Margaret River Discovery Co on its social media channels.

The stunning photo of two kangaroos silhouetted before a full Moon went viral internationally, and was featured by media outlets across the world including The Mail UK, ABC, Buzzfeed and Mashable.

sunset kangaroos

Sunset kangaroos. (Image: The Margaret River Discovery Co.)