Global Manager, Social & Content - Tourism Australia


“Pity the poor travel marketer that goes up against Tourism Australia on social media.”

- Jason Clampet,


Award winning human with one of the best jobs in world, heading up social and content for
Tourism Australia (@Australia). 
Curious about the world, well travelled
and fan of a good presentation.

Jesse Desjardins
Global Manager Social & Content
Tourism Australia

I lead Tourism Australia’s award winning social and content team. Our role is to make Australia the most desirable and memorable destination and to attract international visitors to our great country.

Born and raised in Canada in the 80s, the first images I had of Australia were from the Crocodile Dundee movies. Its star Paul Hogan was hands down one of Australia’s most brilliant spokespersons. The ‘Shrimp on the Barbie’ ads are still considered to be the most iconic and effective tourism ads ever made. Fast forward 20 years, and I find myself in Australia, trying to replicate the success of the ads that inspired me to come to Australia, but in a much more complicated digital landscape.

Unlike the ‘80s, we now have millions of spokespeople who make the @Australia social profiles forces to be reckoned with. When Skift looked at the most liked and commented photos among travel brands, 197 of the 200 came from @Australia. Those photos don’t come from my team. They come from the heroes of our platform - the 23 million Australians, 200,000 tourism businesses and 7.2 million visitors who share their creativity with us. It’s the strength of this community that makes us among the most followed destinations globally. Every day the team receives over 2,500 submissions that we then turn into 10 stories across our profiles. Since 2012 we’ve had 2.5 million submissions; over 8,000 of those have been featured across our platforms.

And these stories have had a proven economic impact. Take Symbio Wildlife Park, for example. We regularly work with Kevin Fallon, Symbio’s Marketing Manager, to feature short videos clips of some of the local non-human residents. Images and video of Imogen the koala, hand-reared since infancy, have generated 90 million views and 34 million likes just on our profiles alone. If you visit Paris you’ll even see Imogen on a 4 story tall banner near the Eiffel Tower. Imogen is not just another adorable animal gone viral; her visibility has led to significant business results. In just one year since we first featured her image, Symbio has seen visitation increase from 70,000 to 100,000.

Adobe Summit - Tourism Australia - Jesse Desjardins - Final .001.jpeg

My leadership style is straightforward. I establish platforms that others can build on. To me it’s about setting the stage so that the people can be the heroes, because, well, they are - and they’re the reason for our success.  They’re the ones supplying the remarkable content.

Here's some of my work... 

Major Profiles:

@Australia Instagram Profile

Tourism Australia's Instagram account is one of the most followed accounts in Australia and the most followed destination globally. Every day 3 stories from the community are selected to be featured on the account. They come from Australians, industry and visitors. But it's more than just sharing pretty pictures, the team put a great amount of detail into not only curating the best content, but also wrapping a story around each post where the audience can learn something new and also click through to learn more information from the thousands of other accounts we've featured. Facebook Page

With over 7m fans the Facebook page has become the primary social platform for Tourism Australia's global social media strategy. With regular features such as 'What Australia Ate this Weekend' and the 'Fan Photos of the Week' the page has become one of the  most followed in Australia and the leading page amongst all other destinations globally.

Major Projects

Sydney New Year’s Eve Pylon Projections

In December 2015, we pulled off the ultimate  Sydney New Year’s Eve project. We  managed a 90-minute film projection featuring user-generated footage of Sydney Harbour - some of the city’s most iconic beaches and an array of Australia’s unique wildlife to a mind blowing audience of 1.5 million people. Over a period of three-and-a-half weeks, footage was shot, produced and edited solely using GoPro cameras. The final footage was then projected and beamed onto Sydney Harbour Bridge’s four 79-meter high pylons. This was a major part of the 2015 New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, and it gave spectators a sneak peak into TA’s upcoming Aquatic and Coastal campaign.

Giga Selfie

My teams were responsible for organising and leading a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity initiative for tourists. Tourists stood in a designated spot and triggered a distant camera via their smartphone. The photos captured those in it and their surroundings, which started as a close-up selfie that eventually pulled back to reveal their exact location. This project turned out to be an absolute hit, especially since those travellers involved received an email with a shareable file attached. The campaign began on the Gold Coast and in Sydney and generated worldwide coverage.

Awards: 2016 ‘Giga Selfie’ Cannes Lions, Gold in the Cyber - Tangible Tech category, Bronze for Direct Use of Ambient Media - Large Scale, Bronze in Mobile - Social Trends

GoPro Athlete Summit

After the success of the Sydney New Year’s Eve Project, Tourism Australia partnered together with GoPro to host the 2016 GoPro Athlete Summit on Australia’s Gold Coast. Our team hosted 74 of the world’s most extreme sports athletes and over 40 GoPro production crews to take part in 4 days of unadulterated training, activities, and content challenges. This incredibly complex project generated an enormous amount of positive media and social coverage for the region.

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