North Queensland dive boat operator John Heuvel is threatening to sue Tourism Australia after claiming it was his idea for Oprah Winfrey to tour Australia.
He says an agreement to include his Cairns company on the itinerary was dumped.
According to The Age, Heuvel claims to have spent $200,000 developing and pitching his idea between 2004 and 2009.
Tourism Australia has acknowledged Heuvel was one of several pitches to Harpo Productions, but was preceded by an earlier pitch which involved a partnership with a book publisher. Both were rejected.
“Many other countries around the world, and destinations in America, have also tried to lure the Oprah Winfrey Show to visit. This idea is not exclusive to Mr Vanden Heuvel or to Tourism Australia,” Tourism Australia said in a statement.
Winfrey’s plane made a fuel-stop in Cairns before travelling to Hamilton Island.
On air, Winfrey made out the idea was hers.
“I started to think about where would I most want to go. Maybe I should take all of you with me to the other side of the world…” she told her audience.
Tourism Australia said it had not been formally approached regarding legal action.
Source: The Age