NEW DELHI: There will be a sea of blue at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this Sunday when India takes on Pakistan – the Choti Diwali super thriller of the ongoing T20 World Cup Down Under. Indians have emerged as the single largest buyers of tickets for the tournament outside of the host continent.
“We have sold just under 16,000 tickets to Indian residents. That is the most for any country outside of Australia, ahead of the UK and USA,” a T20 World Cup Local Organising Committee official told TOI on Friday. Asked how many tickets have in all been sold so far, he added, “We will not release a figure at this stage but we are anticipating up to eight lakh attendance across the 45 matches of this event.”
Regular tickets for the India-Pakistan fixture had been sold months in advance, with the maximum demand for ticket sales for the tournament coming from India.
“For the ICC World Cup, we expect 18-20,000 supporters from India to travel to Australia this month and the next. The biggest draw has been the India-Pak Sunday Blockbuster. This growth is primarily due to the tripling of direct flights between India and Australia. Pre-Covid there were eight flights per week by Air India and now this figure has risen to 24 as Qantas has also started flights to Delhi and Bengaluru,” Nishant Kashikar, Tourism Australia country manager (India and Gulf), told TOI. Qantas has resumed India non-stops after over a decade.
Overall, the biggest revival in international inbound to Australia is from India after neighbouring New Zealand ever since the continent opened up late last year. In April-August 2022, visitors from India had reached 86% of same period in pre-pandemic 2019. Now thanks to the “ICC T20 World Cup, holidays, weddings, honeymooners, visiting friends and relatives and return of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing & exhibitions) travel,” Australia hopes to touch the record 4 lakh visitors from India seen in 2019 before the end of this calendar year.
“India is the biggest mid to long haul inbound source of travellers for Australia now, post the continent’s reopening. Australia has consistently seen a 30% increase in visa lodgements (applications) from India week on week and the forward bookings are very strong. India will be the first inbound market to recover to 2019 levels among all our source countries,” Kashikar said.


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