Oprah exposure to boost Daintree
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.
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