The Lions haven't tasted series glory for 16 years and were beaten in the cruellest of circumstances the last time they were in Oz so Gatland accepts there is an added incentive to return to winning ways this time around.
"It's absolutely massive," said Gatland when asked how important it is to break The Lions' recent duck.
"The concept of The Lions is fantastic. It's the only team that brings players from four nations together and goes on a traditional tour. It's great for the game in terms of the frenzy of interest it creates, the way the supporters get behind it and how motivated the players are to be involved in it.
"In 2009 our whole focus was on putting respect back into that jersey and giving it some pride. We felt we were very unlucky but we came way with a little bit of pride restored.
"It's very, very important that this series is successful for The Lions."
Gatland's opposite number Robbie Deans was forced into three changes to his Australian squad over the weekend when Digby Ioane, Scott Higginbotham and Sitaleki Timani all required further treatment on knee, shoulder and thumb injuries respectively.
Star openside David Pocock was ruled out of the series during the spring, while hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau is among other absentees from the side that beat Wales 3-0 this time last summer.
But Deans has stated that he sees no point worrying about the situation and Gatland agrees. The Lions' boss is convinced that the host nation will still prove hugely difficult to overcome, especially as they are set to welcome back the likes of Will Genia, James O'Connor and James Horwill after the former missed a large chunk of last season and the latter pair sat out the whole Test year.
"Rugby is such a collision sport that you're going to pick up injuries," added Gatland.
"There are some real quality players that Australia have lost or who have picked up injuries in the last few weeks but you look at the depth they created last year and the fact that they've got players who've come back who haven't been available to them for the last 12 months.
"I've been impressed with how their Super Rugby sides have been doing and it looks like a lot of players are hungry and keen and are putting their hands up because they want to get selected for the Wallabies.
"So, whatever Australian side they put out they're going to be pretty tough."