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Ashes contest 'tourism gold' for Australia

During the course of the Ashes cricket contest, which kicked off in Australia last week (Thursday November 23rd), the country is expected to receive a significant tourism boost.

Tourism leaders are even hoping that some overseas visitors will be so attracted to life down under that they want to stay here and invest.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, John O'Sullivan, managing director of Tourism Australia, commented: "The Ashes, like the British and Irish Lions rugby tours, are tourism gold for Australia.

"These are visitors who stay longer, disperse more widely and spend well, both during the games and between them, visiting our shops, restaurants, beaches, wineries and other attractions."

The Ashes tournament lasts until Sunday January 7th 2018, which means many British and European cricket fans will be in Australia over the Christmas and New Year period, spending money and making a sizeable contribution to the nation's economy.

With each test match lasting for five days, the tournament is a major contributor to the Australian economy.

Matches are set to be played across five Australian cities - Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney - over the course of the tournament, meaning sports fans will be moving around the country, exploring and soaking up the atmosphere of different regions.

As a result, tourism leaders are hopeful that people will be so attracted to the country that they want to revisit for future holidays or potentially even invest in Australian property or business so that they have an excuse to keep returning.

What's more, Australia will be being broadcast to 130 nations across the globe, despite the cricket contest itself concerning just two countries.

In total, some 30,000 Brits are expected to travel down under throughout the duration of the Ashes. Experts predict that cricket tourists will spend around $400 million (£228 million) on food, drink, accommodation and betting over the course of the tournament.

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