Australians vying for a slice of Oprah

Australian tour operators are clamouring to feature in US megastar Oprah Winfrey's December tour Down Under and thousands of tickets have been sought, the tourism minister said Monday.

Oprah and 300 audience members will spend eight days sampling the best of Australia's beaches, vineyards and shopping, taking in icons including Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef.

Her visit will conclude with a recording session of her hit talk show at the temporarily renamed Sydney "Oprah" House, which will be open to the Australian public via a ticket ballot.

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said Oprah's decision to bring filming of her final season to Australia was a "major endorsement" and was a welcome boost for the tourism industry as it struggled with the rallying local dollar.

"To date there have been expressions of interest from 3,000 product and service offerers," Ferguson told parliament.

"Thousands of Australians, including many of the opposition side of the house, have sought tickets to the filming of the Oprah Winfrey Show," he added, eliciting hoots and jeers from MPs.

Ferguson said tourism employed almost one million Australians and it accounted for 8.3 percent of the country's total exports.

"The tourism industry at the moment is very challenged by the strength of the Australian dollar," he said, referring to the resources-linked surge which saw the "Aussie" breach parity with the greenback briefly this month.

"In that context the Oprah Winfrey show is very important."

Oprah's show weekly attracted more than 40 million viewers in North America, a market Ferguson said had remained resilient for Australia-bound tourism despite the global slump.

Tourism officials were swamped with offers to host the TV star following her announcement, from rainforest and reef resorts to humble homes in Outback towns.

Australia paid 2.3 million US dollars to lure the 56-year-old Down Under, and the talkshow diva hasn't ruled out a homestay with a "real Aussie" during her whirlwind tour.

Winfrey was ranked the world's most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine this year, outclassing actress Angelina Jolie and singer Beyonce Knowles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test