17 November 2008

World's most influential woman promotes Australia

The world's most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey, gave her worldwide audience a glowing report about Baz Luhrmann's new film and Australian tourism, reports the Northern Territory News.

This month, the Baz Luhrmann-directed film Australia is set for release in America and in the lead-up, Oprah waxed lyrical about the film and its repercussions for Australian tourism.  Oprah's show is broadcast to an estimated 49 million viewers in the US and to a further 141 countries.

"I have not been this excited about a movie since I don't know when," Winfrey told Luhrmann.  "Congratulations on your imagination, your vision, your creativity, your direction.  Our hearts are all swelling because, my God, it's just the film we needed to see."

"Australia's going to make you want to jump on a plane and go Down Under," she added.

Oprah's endorsement of the film and holidaying in Australia is expected to result in a tourism boom, and a sharp increase in the number of people applying for an Australian holiday visa from America.  The year ending September 2008 saw a one per cent decrease in the number of international visitors in Australia compared with the year before, reaching only 5.6 million people.

Oprah's public excitement for the impending release of Australia reached over six million people in the US before it reached millions of viewers around the world.

"This is hugely powerful exposure and a great example of how the movie publicity generates publicity for the country itself," said Tourism Australia managing director Geoff Buckley.

Drew Kluska, managing director of tour company Outback Encounter, said Oprah's endorsement and the release of the film would have the same effect on Australian tourism as the 1980s films Crocodile Dundee

"What it will do is much like what Crocodile Dundee the movie did.  Everybody wanted to go to Kakadu and Arnhem Land after seeing how beautiful it was in Crocodile Dundee," he told reporters.

"It will inspire a lot of people to travel to non-traditional destinations…  What [Out of Africa] did for Kenya was incredible - if they can emulate anything like that it should be amazing. Everyone knows what Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand."

A number of companies, including Qantas and Emirates, have jumped on board the film's wave of publicity; Qantas has created themed travel itineraries to allow tourists to follow in the footsteps of Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, who star in Luhrmann's epic adventure film, and Emirates has been running a major advertising campaign with similar themes to Tourism Australia and Australia

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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