The private visit of the second in line to our throne, Prince William resulted in worldwide media attention on Australia. The media clip above was on the major US network, CBS. It would have been seen by millions. No doubt many other networks across the world showed similar scenes.
The commercial value to tourism would have been enormous. Just imagine the value of the scenes set against Sydney Harbour, including the Opera House.
It cost nothing.
I was thinking about this when I saw the report by Lara Sinclair in The Australian (20/9) that the dollar cost of bringing Oprah Winfrey to Australia — before security and tourism industry contributions — is estimated to be about $5 million.
That includes $1.5m from the NSW government, $1.5m from Tourism Australia, close to $1m from the Queensland and Victorian governments collectively, and $1m from Qantas, which will fly 451 people here for the occasion.
This is a clever move, and included an offer to rename the Sydney Opera House after Oprah Winfrey for a day was inspired, according to Andrew McEvoy, chief of the country's peak tourism body, who described the star's reaction to the offer.To which Ms. Winfrey replied “"You had me at the words Oprah House."
I am sure it will be successful, even if most of Ms. Winfrey’s viewers are not given to international travel. But why are we not being told the security and tourist industry contributions?
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We are always told about the security costs of Royal Visits. This is the principal way the republican politicians can inflate the cost. This is then handed to a republican journalist who makes a story out of it which is then carried on the evening news.
One politician who made a practice of obtaining and publicising this information soon realised from columns on this site just how obvious the practice was.
So he tried to camouflage this by questioning the cost of almost every foreign dignitary to Australia. Only the Royal visits were publicised.
It is unwise and potentially dangerous to publish such costs in relation to royalty and visiting heads of state and of government.
We suggested to the previous Prime Minister that this should be stopped.
Publication immediately informs the wrong people about the level of security typically provided.
[This was originally posted on 20 September 2010]