Oprah ex­po­sure to boost Dain­tree

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - CHAR­LIE MCKIL­LOP

AF­TER months bound by strict em­bar­goes and con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses, Dain­tree Eco Lodge own­ers Terry and Cathy Maloney can fi­nally talk about their ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in­volved in the film­ing of US talk show queen Oprah Win­frey’s epic Aus­tralian ad­ven­ture.

So tight is se­cu­rity, the Maloneys still have no idea if any footage of the six Oprah au­di­ence mem­bers who vis­ited the Dain­tree would make it to air when the four episodes filmed in Aus­tralia are screened world­wide this week.

Mr Maloney said it would be “ic­ing of the cake” if it did hap­pen but ir­re­spec­tive, their busi­ness - one of only two Queens­land lo­ca­tions se­lected for film­ing - “could not lose”.

“It’s not just the Eco Lodge that can’t lose,” Mr Maloney said.

“Aus­tralia and our whole re­gion can only ben­e­fit.

“This is the biggest tourism mar­ket­ing event ever seen in Aus­tralia’s his­tory and it will de­liver div­i­dends for decades.”

The es­ti­mated value of cov­er­age of Oprah’s visit in Aus­tralia alone is more than $140 mil­lion - a fig­ure ex­pected to be dwarfed as the four, one hour pro­grams are beamed across the United States and into the homes of 90 mil­lion view­ers world­wide.

Any­one who logs onto the show’s web­site - which at­tracts around seven mil­lion vis­i­tors a month - will find a map of Aus­tralia fea­tur­ing the Dain­tree and Hamil­ton Is­land as well as links to in­di­vid­ual tourism part­ners in­volved in film­ing.

Oprah also has about two mil­lion Face­book fans, 3.9 mil­lion twit­ter fol­low­ers and 44 mil­lion to­tal up­load views on the YouTube chan­nel.

As the coun­try was gripped for days by Oprah-ma­nia dur­ing the visit in De­cem­ber last year, the Eco Lodge wel­comed six au­di­ence mem­bers - a hus­band and wife, mother and daugh­ter and two friends - who ar­rived by heli­copter.

Mr Maloney said they were treated as any other guest, ex­cept for the cam­era crew which fol­lowed their ev­ery move as the group be­came im­mersed in the nat­u­ral and cul­tural won­ders of the Dain­tree.

“It was a mov­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. There were tears of joy hold­ing hands with the Abo­rig­i­nal ladies at the wa­ter­fall. They were ob­vi­ously hand­picked be­cause they were con­nected with coun­try,” he said.

When the live shows were filmed at Syd­ney Opera House, the Maloneys were among the 6000 au­di­ence mem­bers hold­ing onto Oprah’s ev­ery word.

“I re­mem­ber on the way down think­ing, ’What am I go­ing to get out of it’, a male among a cult-like fol­low­ing of women, but I went in a rugby league fan and came out an Oprah fan,” he said.

Tak­ing Aus­tralia to the world: Oprah Win­frey

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