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Oprah Winfrey Visit Will Cost Taxpayers Millions

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FOX: Oprah Winfrey's plans to film one of her final shows in Australia will cost local taxpayers more than AU$2.5 million (US$2.3 million), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported Tuesday.

Oprah Winfrey

Australia's Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson said it had received about AU$2.5 million in federal and state government funding in a bid to tempt the U.S. talkshow megastar Down Under in a major tourism boost for the country.

"The decision of The Oprah Winfrey Show to actually come to Australia is a major coup," Ferguson told the ABC. "In announcing it in the U.S. overnight, she described it as her 'dream destination' and that means we are going to get a major international opportunity to lift Australia's profile as a premier tourism destination."

Meanwhile, the (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported that Aussie fans of the TV talkshow queen will get the chance to be in the audience of her Sydney Opera House broadcasts on Dec. 13 or Dec. 14. with ticketing to be offered in an Olympic Games style ballot.

Seating for 3000 people will be available when the host brings the final season of her program to Sydney.

Winfrey announced her secret plans Monday night, offering her entire studio audience and crew (approximately 450 people) a trip to Australia, causing a media frenzy.

The Telegraph reported early Tuesday, that Winfrey will spend nine to 10 days in Australia where she and a team will "travel throughout the country to gather stories." Then for three days, the audience will participate in an "Australian adventure" somewhere in the Outback.

The star's friend and Qantas ambassador John Travolta was initially touted as the man who would fly Winfrey and her entourage across the Pacific, but he is expecting the birth of his third child with wife Kelly Preston in December when the Oprah production team is due in Sydney.

Winfrey announced in November that this season would be the show's last.

She hinted in August that her final show might be taped at Chicago's 61,500-seat Soldier Field.

After "The Oprah Winfrey Show" ends, Winfrey will run the new Oprah Winfrey Network, which launches on cable television Jan. 1, 2011.

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