28 January 2011

Oprah’s full impact may be five years coming, says Australian tourism chief

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Tourism Australia’s chief has admitted it could be up to five years before the full impact of Oprah’s Australian adventure specials is known.

ETA Visa

The "Oprah effect" on Australian tourism may not yet be felt in full for five years.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said he had been warned by Winfrey's production company, Harpo Productions, that her influence was often more long-term but early signs are very encouraging.

"They told me you will really understand the power of this stuff in the next five years," he said.

"I think the big thing is that this won't deliver everything in a month or six months or 12 months - it will deliver a lot in the next five years."

Already, American travel agents specialising in Australia are reporting strong bookings. Qantas Vacations has experienced a 250 per cent rise in internet and telephone inquiries, and the official Australian tourism website australia.com is getting twice as many hits as usual.

To visit Australia all overseas tourists, unless they have an Australia or New Zealand passport, must have an Australian Travel Visa. The most popular of these is the ETA Visa, which can be quickly and easily applied for online.

Mr McEvoy has been travelling throughout the US this week to capitalise on the renewed interest in Australia and attend G'Day USA, an annual Australian promotional event in Los Angeles.

Oprah and more than 300 of her fans visited Australian highlights including the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian Outback, and Melbourne's Federation Square, which were featured in the three Australian TV specials.


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