Tourism players fight for Oprah while China waits

first_imgTourism operators are jostling with elbows in a desperate bid to be featured on Oprah’s momentous trip Down Under. The ‘Queen of Daytime TV’ will be debuting in Australia in December, to film several episodes of her cult talk show, which boasts a viewership of 40 million Americans each week. It will be the first time the show has been filmed outside of the US, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said that the visit was a major coup that will give Australia the chance to boost its flagging tourism fortunes.”The tourism industry at the moment is very challenged by the strength of the Australian dollar,” Mr Ferguson told Parliament.”People must appreciate that tourism is a major employer of Australians; just under one million directly and indirectly.”In that context, the Oprah Winfrey Show is very important.” Over 3,000 tourism products and services have already applied to Tourism Australia for the opportunity to be featured on Oprah’s show. Two episodes are set to be filmed at Sydney’s redubbed “Oprah House”, though Ms Winfrey’s producers have yet to reveal the other locations to be visited by the juggernaut show.“Less Oprah, more China”Travel agents and advertising professionals have said that the money being spent on hosting Oprah Down Under would be better utilised attracting the Chinese, an NZHerald.co.nz report said Wednesday. Australia is spending more than AUD$3 million to host Forbes’ most powerful woman to its shores, Mr Ferguson said. Tourism Australia is spending AUD$1.5 million, New South Wales State is contributing AUD$2 million, and Qantas is flying Winfrey’s 300-strong party from the US. However, according to some industry figures, the concentration on Oprah has forced attention away from important tourism markets.”Getting Oprah here isn’t going to get anyone from China to come here,” said Peter Grasse, executive producer in Sydney at Curious Film, which worked on advertising campaigns that won the Grand Prix at a Cannes media festival in June.”They should be making multiple ads for multiple markets, like the Chinese market, instead of putting all this effort into something so one-dimensional.” Last year, China overtook Japan as the fourth largest supplier of tourists to Australia; behind NZ, the UK, and the US, Government statistics showed.”As the Chinese economy continues to grow, so does the number of Chinese people who can afford to travel,” managing director of Tourism and Transport Forum, Christopher Brown said. “It’s entirely possible China could get to number one.” For this to happen, support needs to be provided for tourists when they arrive, said managing director of the Australian Tourism Export Council, Matt Hingerty, who recently announced his departure from the Council. Tourism Australia agreed, saying that failure to give tourists a memorable visit could do damage, as “word of mouth” can be the strongest influence on potential visitors.In June, the Australian Government announced plans to spend AUD$30 million marketing to Chinese tourists who live outside the nation’s three largest cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. “We’re going to Australia!” Oprah poses onstage with a Qantas aircraft nose during the Down Under episodecenter_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.Clast_img read more