Oprah's trip to Australia to boost tourism: minister

10:19, September 14, 2010      

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American talk show sensation Oprah Winfrey's decision to bring her talk show to Australia later this year is a major coup for tourism, Australian Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said on Tuesday.

To celebrate her 25th and final season on air, Winfrey revealed overnight she would be flying 300 audience members to Australia for an eight-day, seven-night trip - Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure - in December.

Winfrey's show is syndicated to 215 TV stations across the U.S. and 145 countries around the world.

Ferguson said Winfrey's visit has the potential to lift Australia's profile as a premier tourist destination.

"The decision of The Oprah Winfrey Show to actually come to Australia is a major coup," Ferguson told ABC's NewsRadio.

"In announcing it in the U.S. overnight, she described it as her 'dream destination' and that means we are going to get a major international opportunity to lift Australia's profile as a premier tourism destination."

"This represents a huge international audience," he added.

Ferguson said Tourism Australia will spend 1.5 million dollars (1.4 million U.S. dollars) bringing Winfrey to Australia, while the New South Wales Government will kick in one million dollars (1. 93 million U.S. dollars).

"It'll actually build on Australia's international campaign ' There's Nothing Like Australia' because it's going to tap into new audiences around the world and encourage them to no longer just think about Australia, but come to Australia for a holiday," Ferguson said.

Meanwhile, Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said Winfrey's visit will help sell Australia's tourism experiences to the rest of the world.

"For many people around the world, Australia is a dream destination," McEvoy told ABC Online on Tuesday.

"Today we turned that dream into a reality for some of Oprah's ultimate viewers. We are excited to show them and Oprah's global audience why there really is nothing like Australia."

During the trip, Winfrey will shoot several episodes of her talk show, including at the Sydney Opera House on Dec. 14.

The iconic landmark will be transformed into the "Oprah House" for the taping and thousands of Winfrey's Australian fans will be invited to sit in the audience.

The Oprah Winfrey Show is set to end in May 2011. Episodes of the show will air in the U.S. in early 2011 and then roll out to other countries.

Source: Xinhua


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