British and Irish sports to boost Australian tourism

- Posted in Australia by Tomon 19 June 2014


Changes to visitor visa policy
take effect on 23 March.

Australian tourism operators are eagerly anticipating two of the largest sporting events in the world later this year to provide a much needed boost to the ailing industry.

The numbers of tourists visiting Australia from Britain and Ireland have fallen in recent years in the wake of the global financial crisis but tourism operators are eagerly awaiting the arrival of thousands of sports fans when the Ashes take place later this year hot on the heels of the British and Irish Lions touring Down Under.

"It's no secret that numbers from the UK to Australian have fallen these past few years," said Andrew McEvoy, managing director of Tourism Australia.

"The forthcoming Lions followed by the Ashes series is just the fillip we need to help reverse the trend."

The last time the British and Irish Lions visited Australia - in 2001 - approximately AU$100 million (£69 million) was injected into the Australian economy and even the most conservative estimates are predicting a 50% increase this time around.

The Lions will play a total of nine matches in Australia later this year, including three Test matches against the Australian national team - tickets to which sold out within minutes of going on sale.

Cricket Australia meanwhile is even more confident with the 2013-14 Ashes series expected to bring in AU$317 million (£217 million) after the last Australian Ashes tour - in 2010-11 - saw record hotel occupancies.

Neale Herridge, director of global sales of Accor, said his company, Australia's largest hotel group, has already seen strong booking from British cricket fans - including those of the 'Barmy Army'.

"Because there's a guarantee that grounds like those in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will be full for at least four of the five days of the Tests, English cricket fans are already locking in their bookings," said Mr Herridge.

"For the Barmy Army and other cricket followers, the tour Down Under is not just about cricket. It is about escaping the English winter for warm sun and touring the country."

If you'd like to follow either the Lions or England to Australia, you'll need an ETA tourist visa. An ETA can be quickly and easily applied for online, with applications usually granted almost immediately.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau.