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Fed: Tourism delighted with Australia publicity

24 Nov 2008 4:50 PM
By Katherine Field

SYDNEY, Nov 24 AAP - Tourism Australia say they are already benefiting fromthe publicity surrounding the film Australia, with people flocking to websites to watch the new advertising campaign linked to the movie.

Managing director Geoff Buckley said new figures showed more than half a million people had already watched the campaign created by director Baz Luhrmann on the internet.

A day before the US premiere in New York, Mr Buckley said publicity surrounding the epic movie had been better than expected, especially thanks to US TV coverage.

He said they were now confident of wooing more visitors Down Under.

"Australia as a holiday destination is riding a huge wave of publicity at the moment which has been generated by Baz Luhrmann's new film," Mr Buckley said.

"When we partnered with Twentieth Century Fox we knew there would be enormous opportunities to generate global exposure for our country and our publicrelations teams have been working hard to maximise these opportunities.

"However, the level of publicity already received before the movie has opened at the box office has been quite phenomenal."

The hopes of the local tourism and film industries are riding on the130 million epic - starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.

A40 million advertising campaign promoting Australia was created to capitalise on the film.

Mr Buckley said the industry was boosted by promotion of the film on Oprah,Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight in the US and on BBC television and radio in the UK.

Tourism officials along with a range of celebrities including TV presenter Kerri-Anne Kennerly, radio host Jackie O and designer Peter Morrissey, werelater on Monday due to walk the gold carpet for a preview screening in Sydney before it opens in wide release.

It is to be followed by a Come Walkabout event at the Opera House.

Australia, the most expensive film ever made in Australia, follows the story of Lady Sarah Ashley, played by Kidman, who inherits a remote cattle station called Faraway Downs in the mid-1930s, before World War II.

When cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces witha rough-hewn drover, played by Jackman, to drive thousands of cattle across the country, only to face the bombing of Darwin by Japanese forces.

Australia opens nationally on November 26.