Toyota planning Melbourne jamboree

TOYOTA has not paid much attention to the advice of experienced Formula 1 people to date and risks ending up with egg on its corporate face as a result but the Japanese manufacturer is pushing ahead with plans to take no fewer than 600 VIP guests to the Australian GP - where the official Toyota F1 team will race for the first time.

This is good news for the local economy which will benefit from the extra income generated.

The Australians are looking to the Grand Prix to help boost flagging tourist business which has slumped dramatically since September 11. The latest figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that overseas visitors fell by 12.7% between September and October. US visitors were already down by 25% compared to 2000 but that was in part due to the 2000 boom caused by the Olympic Games being held in Sydney.

The tourist industry hopes that the drop in visitors caused by fears about terrorism will be offset by Australians deciding not to travel abroad and take holidays within the country. The weak Australian dollar is also helping build up internal travel although the collapse of the Ansett airline means that road traffic is expected to increase.

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