Oprah’s Freebie

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

I think I know how Oprah Winfrey got so rich. It’s because she doesn’t have to pay for things. As her show nears the end of its 76 year continuous run or however long it’s been, some of the last remaining programmes are going to be filmed in Australia. Why Australia you might ask. Because it looks as though Tourism Australia will be picking up a large part of the bill. As are Qantas, the airline that calls itself the spirit of Australia, who are flying 300 people from the audience at which she announced the freebie and 150 staff to Australia. They will all enjoy an 8 day, all-expenses trip in December.
And in the spirit of one of the biggest freebies that travel loving journalists must envy, some of the shows will be filmed at the Sydney Opera House (probably at no cost to Oprah at all) with long, lingering panoramic views of Sydney placed throughout the programme. All this may be for just two episodes of her show which is due to be shown in January 2011. There may be more episodes and The Cairns Post says that some of her staff have been seen in Cairns and around the Great Barrier Reef. They are hoping that the offer of free use of a $A10,000 a day yacht and a $A4,000 a night hotel room, both for as long as she likes, might encourage her to either to do a show there or carry lots of publicity about them. Why even the mayor of the Whitsundays has offered to shout her a beer so how can she refuse?
And the Queenslanders are not alone. Some 3,000 companies, destinations and organisations have contacted the organisers in order to try and get their names or products mentioned in the show. Just reciting all the names would fill up an episode. Say $A500 for each mention and that’s another $A1.5 million she could earn!
This whole exercise is costing the Australian and New South Wales governments about $A3 million which, needless to say, the tourism people say is good value for money. Why? Because her show is watched in 145 countries so all will see the delights of Australia. But do the people who watch Oprah travel? Does that matter to the Australians when they are collecting more than $3 million worth of publicity around the world all of which mentions the word “Australia.”

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