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Mayors battle to lure Oprah on Oz visit

Updated: Sep 19, 2010, 20:27 PM IST

Melbourne: Several Queensland mayors have thrown out the welcome mat in a bid to lure American talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey to their towns.

Tourism Australia and Tourism Queensland have both been swamped with offers to host Oprah and her 300-member audience of Americans, with local mayors offering everything from the keys to the Gold Coast to some ‘Ipswich magic’.

Rockhampton`s Mayor Brad Carter wrote to Oprah, offering a ‘real Aussie holiday’ that takes in the Outback and the Reef plus the use of Paradise Lagoons for any filming, reports the Courier Mail.

Oprah and her 300 loyal fans will be flown to Australia in December by celebrity pilot John Travolta in partnership with Qantas Airways.

It is estimated that the cost to Tourism Australia for the eight-day ‘Oprah`s Ultimate Australian Adventure’ will be about 4 million dollars, but the return in tourism dollars is expected to reap hundreds of millions, rivalling the success of Paul Hogan.

The ‘Oprah Show’ will record two episodes in Australia for the first time outside the US and will carry Tourism Australia’s message to more than 40 million people in the United States and millions more in 145 countries where the show is featured.