Contiki turning travellers into TV stars

Yet another new twist on the reality series formula will chronicle who does what during a two-week coach tour through Australia.

Contiki Holidays prides itself on offering its passengers a lot of perks. But it’ll be upping the ante big time for those who book a two-week Australian coach tour from March 30-April 12.

The adventures of a 35-person group will be chronicled and edited into a new, six-episode reality TV series featuring Contiki’s 14-day Beaches & Reefs Holiday. As passengers dive the Great Barrier Reef, cuddle koalas, try tandem skydiving and visit a traditional Aussie farm, a camera crew will capture all the action.

The series, a joint venture between Contiki Holidays and Toronto-based Up-Front Entertainment, is scheduled to hit the airwaves on August 8, when the first episode will be broadcast on CTV’s travel+escapes specialty channel.

Passengers are being recruited from Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and South Africa to ensure a diverse group of participants aged 18-35. Promotion of the TV show and recruitment of participants kicked off earlier this month at Cineplex movie theatres across Canada, when wannabe TV stars walked the red carpet and were handed Oscar replicas and souvenir snapshots. Contiki is now working with Billabong retailers across Canada to give one winner a chance to win a $1,000 Billabong shopping spree plus a ticket for the trip.

Toronto-based Lisa McLean, marketing manager for Contiki Holidays, says the response from both students and young professionals from across the country so far has been ‘amazing. Since our launch, we’ve had more then 500 emails and phone calls from people who are interested in participating.

‘We have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all the photos, videos diaries and travel experiences of all the applicants,’ she adds. ‘It has also provided us with keen insights into our customers that we can use for future marketing initiatives and product development.’