Royal visit means big bucks for tourism

As the royal trio and their entourage head home, Australian tourism operators are reveling in the influx of enquiries and bookings that have resulted from the visit, which is expected to lead to tens of millions in tourist spending.

Visits by Oprah Winfrey in 2010 and Ellen DeGeneres last year contributed to a 6.2 percent year-on-year increase in US arrivals in Australia last year, worth $2.5 billion to the Australian economy.

The tourism industry expects similar dividends from the 10-day visit of Prince William, Kate Middleton and baby George.

Oprah's visit, funded by a $7 million contribution from the private sector and a $1.8 million contribution from Tourism Australia, generated more than 86 thousand media articles around the world, worth an estimated $368 million in equivalent advertising.

Tourism Australia said that nearly 50 percent of US travellers who subsequently visited or booked a holiday to Australia said they had been influenced to do so by the four shows that followed her visit.

The 10-day royal tour, estimated to have cost Australian taxpayers more than $2 million, has seen images of some of our most famous tourism attractions including the Three Sisters, the Opera House, Manly Beach, Canberra and Uluru being circulated around the world.

Tourism Australia's managing director John O'Sullivan called these images "tourism gold", adding that the images lead to "the kind of international exposure that is difficult to put a price on and which will undoubtedly inspire many onlookers around the world to follow in their footsteps by booking a holiday of their own down under."

While Tourism Australia said it was too early to establish exactly what the financial benefits of the visit will be, they reported a 125 percent increase of unique visitors from Great Britain to their website on Wednesday, coinciding with the Uluru visit, and said that other operators are reporting similar spikes.

Ray Stone, executive general manager of sales and marketing for Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, which represents locations around Uluru including Longitude 131° where the couple stayed on Tuesday night, said that the impact of the royal visit to Uluru has already been "momentous."


"On Tuesday we had 324 calls to the Voyages Travel Centre, that's double the number of calls from the same day last year," he said.

"So this will have great impact in the UK market and a significant impact domestically."

Mr Stone estimates the visit will lead to a 10 to 15 percent rise in revenue for Voyages from domestic and UK tourist markets, based on similar domestic and US growth the company experienced following Oprah's visit.

Daily deals site Scoopon has also reported a 34 percent increase in travel deal bookings to Canberra since the Royals visited there on Easter Monday.

Another big tourism coup is expected to come from American TV show Modern Family's Australia episode when it airs on Sunday night, which analysts are estimating will be seen by over 125 million viewers worldwide, including 25 million Americans.