It’s 1993 and I have a perm twice as wide as my head and a hunger to see the world so much greater than my pay packet will afford.
Each week I stuff away $80, tallying in a notebook my painfully slow attempts to raise the 2000 pounds needed for a working holiday visa to the UK. I’m shiftworking every Sunday for the double time; dodging my round at the pub because I’m saving for my big “OE”.
Then, weeks before I’m due to set off with a backpack on the overseas experience that feels so urgent when you’re born at the bottom of the world, the exchange rate plummets; my pounds are plundered. I borrow $700 from Dad – the only time I’ll ever ask my parents for money.
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Reading about G’day USA, got me thinking – it’s time that we have a Ni Hao China event.
G’day USA is an annual event in Los Angeles to promote Australian tourism and trade opportunities with the US and has been going on for a decade. Most famous for the celebrities it attracts.
Yet our top trading partner is China, followed by Japan then the US. Last year Australia and China celebrated 40 years of diplomatic recognition.
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So US tourist numbers are down since Oprah’s “Down Under” fire sale of our national dignity and the much-wished-for Oprah cash has failed to materialise.
The idea of letting a foreign talk show host turn our country into giant television studios smelt dodgy from the start, but after yesterday’s revelations, it stinks.
The news yesterday that US visitor numbers have dropped by 0.8 per cent in the last year just leaves you wondering how this ever got so out of hand.
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Three years ago I interviewed former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett about the lack of a bold, long-term vision for Adelaide.
“I absolutely believe that by 2030 there is a very real chance that South Australia will be one of the high-speed economic states of Australia,” said the man credited with transforming Melbourne. “Adelaide is a lovely city, but in my opinion it still hasn’t identified its core.”
Fast forward to 2011. And in the same week that a possible trillion-dollar mine was tipped within the Woomera Prohibited Area, SACA members yelled YES to changing the face of Adelaide forever. Hallelujah.
Did someone say “Oprah”? No? Are you sure? I could’ve sworn I heard someone say “Oprah”.
Over the past few weeks the Talk Show Queen’s name has been noticeably absent from the nation’s media – which probably has something to do with the fact we were quite preoccupied with devastating floods, rampaging cyclones and horrific fires.
Those Oprah-filled days seem so far away now – almost dream-like.
The screams are still ringing in my ears.
Oprah’s audience, and every Australian Tourism authority, are no doubt still trying to recover their composure after the mass hysteria that followed her pronouncement that she and several hundred of her bestest fans were bound for the positively Jules Verne-esque destination of “the other side of the world”.
Later this year, Winfrey and her troop of ardent devotees will be flown to our shores courtesy of Captain Kangaroo himself John Travolta. The Opera House will form the particularly scenic backdrop for the taping of an episode of her talk show which reaches 44 million people each week.
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Dearest Oprah, can we start by saying: ohmygod ohmygod ohmyGOD.
We can’t thank you enough for getting us out of the little marketing pickle we have found ourselves in ever since the Lara Bingle Where-the-Bloody-Hell-Are-You business (yes, what were we thinking?). For your enjoyment we have enclosed some photos from inside our marketing department from the moment we heard the news that you have decided to shoot your first ever overseas show in Sydney. As you can see, there was quite the excitement.
A few more pictures follow. We will of course have a full itinerary ready by the time you arrive but now that we’re locked in there are a few preliminary things you might want to think about that we’ve listed below.
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