Anyone who watches Oprah is familiar with her gifts to her studio audiences. Â At first she started giving her audiences things like books, but it progressed to more pricey gifts like camcorders and refrigerators and even cars. Â This year, to mark the season premiere of the 25th season of Winfrey’s daytime talk show, she announced to the audience that they would each be given a free eight-day trip to Australia. Â As you might imagine, the audience promptly went bonkers.
But they say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and surprisingly it’s the Australian government who are going to be footing the bill for some of the travel arrangements. Â The federal and New South Wales state governments are contributing a combined $2.8 million to help bring the American tourists in, as a ploy to help boost Australia’s ailing tourism industry. Â The government has asked that the media not report the initiative with pessimism, as they see it as an investment in Australia’s future. Â Nonetheless, I can hear the Aussie grumbles all the way from this side of the world.