14 June 2010

Australian tourism epic 13,650km cab ride ends after nine weeks

An Australian driver has just ended an epic nine-week taxi journey taking in pristine beaches, desert wilderness and the rugged Outback to promote tourism in Australia.

The Australian tourism campaign, similar to the highly successful Best Job in the World, included competitions to select the trip's driver and passengers.

Doug Slater, chosen to be the driver for the 13,650-kilometre (8,460-mile) journey from the Western Australian capital Perth to the northern coastal town of Broome, said it was the "opportunity of a lifetime".

There were 11 couples, from Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Britain, New Zealand and Germany, who were passengers for various parts of the trip where Slater provided constant commentary on the attractions along the way. 

All visitors to Australia, unless they have an Australian or New Zealand passport, must have an Australian Travel Visa. The most popular of these visas is the ETA Visa, which can be easily applied for online.

"My passengers' minds were boggled by the wildlife we saw on the journey," Slater told AFP.

Officials believe the campaign has already generated media exposure worth more than 2.6 million dollars and reached a potential audience of 60 million people globally.

Slater beat more than 400 other people to win the role of driver. 

The campaign was inspired by a spinster’s three-month trip in the 1930s along thousands of kilometres of Australia’s east coast from Melbourne to Darwin in a soft-top taxi.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian Visa applications with the Australian Embassy.   

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