Australia is known the world over for its beautiful beaches, warm weather and stunning geography.
But that’s just the side-dish for one growing demographic of tourists who flock to our shores at the same time each year for a very good reason: test cricket.
Sport-obsessed fans from India injected a massive $1.2 billion dollars in the past 12 months to Australia while visiting for the last tour.
And while many will have been disappointed after torrential rain saw Day One of the tour cancelled in Sydney on Wednesday, the tourism sector is expecting even more fans to arrive this season.
“Really a lot of people from India come to Australia just to see the cricket season,” Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum told Your Money Live.
“[Cricketers] have a huge following and so do their partners,” she said.
Osmond explained that while the players draw big crowds, their wives are also a big deal in India.
“The whole Indian WAGs scene is really fascinating,” she said, using the acronym for wives and girlfriends of sportspersons.
While many Indian tourists schedule visits to Australia in time to watch their favourite game, most stay for more than a month and engage in other tourist activities during that time, according to Osmond.
And while its a boon for the tourism industry, other Australian sectors also benefit from these visits.
“It means that more people are going to be sending their kids to school here or [they’ll] buy Australian products when they get back home,” she said.
“So, the larger ramifications of somebody coming here for a visit for whatever reason are terrific,” she added. “This is a growth trend and we’re going to be seeing more and more of it.”.
Indian tourists are Australia’s fastest growing tourism sector. In the last 12 months alone, the number of visitors has grown by 21 per cent to just over 300,000 annually.
Although they tend to spend less on average during their stay than other groups, that too is growing quickly thanks to the rising middle class, she said.
Tourists from India stay for an average of 58 nights, longer than most, and the average spend is about $5,000 per person.
By 2025, Osmond said we can expect the number of Indian visitors here to more than double.
Watch the full interview in the video above.