Monday, October 26, 2009

Queensland praised on Oprah

After my earlier post about the Best Job in the World contest, its great to see that a tourism campaign has gone so well (considering the "Where the bloody hell are you" mess).

Here's the latest update about Ben being interviewed on the Oprah show:

Best Job winner sings Queensland's praises on Oprah

Tourism Queensland's Best Job Island caretaker Ben Southall has hit the big time, with a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Queensland's popularity as a world-renowned holiday destination is sure to skyrocket following Ben’s interview with the Winfrey.

"Ben recently spoke to Oprah by satellite from Hamilton Island and I know he has been singing the praises of our beautiful state," said Premier Anna Bligh.

Bligh sees Ben’s Oprah appearance as a major tourism coup, which will directly promote Queensland to more than seven million US TV viewers and 145 countries around the world.

"Oprah has been the number one US talk show for 23 seasons and Ben's appearance will deliver an unprecedented level of publicity for Queensland.

"This is another major coup for Tourism Queensland during what has been a very challenging time for operators."

The Premier said Ben was more than half-way through his six-month stint as Caretaker for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

"He is doing a great job and everyone's primary focus now is on harnessing the excitement he has generated to motivate viewers to act on their desire to visit Queensland," he said.

Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said that as part of the Best Job promotion, an audience member of the Oprah Winfrey show will win a trip to Queensland.

"During Ben's five minute chat with Oprah he was able to give a first-hand account of what it's like to have the Best Job in the World and enjoy a range of fantastic Queensland experiences, such as snorkelling, diving and bushwalking," he said.

Tourism Queensland acting CEO Steve McRoberts said Ben was the perfect tourism ambassador for Queensland.

"Since arriving as the Island Caretaker on July 1, Ben has continued to fuel the buzz surrounding the Best Job in the World and sustain interest in Queensland," Mr McRoberts said.

"In addition to his guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, since arriving in Queensland Ben has fielded more than 150 media interviews from prominent outlets around the world such as the BBC, Le Parisien, CCN, Shanghai Morning Post, The UK's Daily Telegraph, CBC, Sky News, Germany's RTL and Israel's Yedoith.

"He has also hosted documentary crews and celebrities from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Hong Kong around his 'office' - the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

"More than 8.4 million visitors have logged on to since the Best Job in the World campaign was launched in January and Ben has approximately 3500 followers on twitter."

Mr McRoberts said the Best Job in the World promotion has delivered an unprecedented level of exposure for Queensland and it has also helped convert awareness into tangible sales for Queensland tourism operators.

"German travel wholesaler FTI recently commented that while overall bookings to Australia were slow compared with this time last year travel to Queensland out of Germany was still up by nearly three percent," he said.

"Austravel and Travelmood in the UK also reported that Queensland had maintained a healthy share of Austravel's overall room nights, helping to secure more of the company's passengers than any other state in Australia.

"A recent comment on Ben's blog from a Kansas family also proves that Ben's experiences are converting into more visitors to Queensland - Our family began following your blog several months ago, long story short we booked a 10 day holiday cruising the Whitsundays so, if anyone is wandering if the marketing efforts are playing off let them know a family from Kansas, USA are the newest fans of Australia and the Islands."

Ben's guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey show aired in the US on Thursday 22 October, an Australian air date is yet to be confirmed.

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