Oprah Winfrey, by many estimates the world's most influential woman, has inspired a surge in American tourism to Australia.
05 December 2012
American tourism to Australia up thanks to Oprah
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey's trip to Australia is being cited as the reason for the biggest increase in American tourism to Australia since the Sydney Olympics.
Oprah visited Australia in late 2010 and broadcast four shows from the country, visiting many of Australia's most iconic sites, including Uluru, in the process. However, due to the global financial crisis combined with Australia's high-flying dollar, the impact is only just beginning to be felt.
Oprah has been one of the world's most influential people for decades now and a recent survey of 500 American tourists heading to Australia showed almost 75% had been directly influenced by Oprah's trip.
The highest number of American tourists to Australia was reached during the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 when 480,000 made the trip Down Under. However, following Oprah's trip, the most recent figures show 472,000 Americans holidaying in Australia.
Tourism Australia General Manager Andrew McEvoy says the impact of Oprah's trip was predicted to take time.
"You do these things and you want them to have an impact but we have to give them time," said Mr McEvoy.
"It's never one thing but we said at the time this was about the time frame it would take for people to fall in love with the idea of a trip, plan a trip, convince their friends and family and book a trip.
"It's not just Oprah though, I think the marketing the state tourism organisations have done with us and the airlines has also helped."
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.