Backlash Over Bill For Winfrey’s Trip Down Under

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September 15, 2010 | 4:20am EST

Oprah Winfrey has another shock in store for the 300 fans she surprised earlier this week with tickets for an all-inclusive trip to Australia – she’s not paying for the vacation.

The billionaire TV titan sent audience members into a frenzy on Monday when she announced she would be jetting all of them Down Under to celebrate her 25th and final season of the Oprah show.

All 300 members of the crowd will be flown over to Sydney in December for a free trip while Winfrey shoots several episodes of her talkshow at the city’s famed Opera House.

But Winfrey hasn’t been as generous as fans think – the state of New South Wales and Australia’s tourism department will be paying the staggering $2.7 million bill for the jaunt.

However, despite a backlash from taxpayers, the state’s politicians insist the trip will lure a huge amount of tourists to their shores.

Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson says, “I think it’s money well spent. This truly represents an amazing opportunity to showcase Australia, the warmth and hospitality of our people and the depth and breadth of everything our country has to offer visitors from around the world. Tourism Australia is finally getting it together. We as a nation will win as a result of this coup.”