Perhaps the best $3 million Australia will spend this year

Winfrey on the first national broadcast of The...

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Oprah Winfrey is famous for giving away a ton of goodies on her shows. Free iPads, US$10,000 cheques, even cars. These gifts don’t happen every show, but on the rare occasions it does, you can bet it generates a ton of press. She is a real dame, a class act, and a master of hype.

In her latest show, she’s really outdone herself with free trips for each of her 300 live audience members to Australia. 8 days, 7 nights, including 2 shows that will be filmed there, one of which showcasing the pride of Australia, the Sydney Opera House.

The bill? A$3 million. Paid for by the Australian taxpayer. This is what Tourism Minister, Martin Ferguson, had to say:

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said the federal and state New South Wales governments would spend more than A$3 million helping to bring “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to Australia as a way to boost tourism.

He said it was money well spent as it would put Australia in the spotlight with the popular TV show watched by 40 million Americans and screened in 145 countries.

“Oprah is a household name and her star power has the potential to lift Australia’s profile as a premier tourist destination,” Ferguson said in a statement yesterday.

John Brown, the outgoing tourism minister added:

Former federal tourism minister John Brown asked the media not to be “cynical about the cost” at a time when the number of Australian leaving for overseas holidays outstrips the number of tourists coming to Australia for vacations.

For that type of money, it’s a deal of the decade. The visibility her show, in its final season, will offer to Australia is set to be immense; more than 100 million people watch her show religiously. 

The deal was brokered by the Australian tourism ministry, and it really shows some out-of-the-box thinking. I wonder how much the Malaysian tourism ministry spends on its overseas promo campaigns each year? And did any of our campaigns land us the front page of Reuters, BBC, and get us a viewership of more than 100 million people worldwide.

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