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Brett Lee bats for Tourism Australia

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MUMBAI: Former Australian cricket player Brett Lee will help push Australian tourism in India as a part of the ‘Friends of Australia‘ advocacy program by Tourism Australia.

As part of his first stint as a Friend of Australia, Lee welcomed more than 70 of India‘s leading travel agents in Melbourne with a personalised tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and dinner at the cricketing stadium to share his career highlights. The agents participated in a six?day India Mega Familiarisation and Workshop (IMFW) being hosted in Australia until 6 September.

The programme was jointly hosted by Tourism Australia and Tourism Victoria and it was the second time this business event was held in Australia. India represents a major visitor market for Australia and Victoria in particular. The participants will also visit a number of other Australian states as part of the familiarisation visit.

Lee who recently retired from international cricket is a popular figure in Indian sports and culture, during both his cricketing career representing Australia and playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL), in addition to his music pursuits and growing his Mewsic Foundation in India.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said, "India is a market that continues to deliver steady growth for Australian tourism and we are delighted to have someone of Brett Lee‘s calibre to further raise the profile of Australia in India and to help us best align to our year 2020 target to secure higher visitor growth from this rising market."

India is currently Australia‘s 10th largest tourism market, worth Australian $0.8 billion in 2011 and delivering 152,000 visitors in the last financial year to 30 June 2012.

McEvoy said, "India has great long term potential for Australian tourism and we continue to support its development via our recently launched India Strategic 2020 Plan to grow the Indian visitor market to Australia. Brett Lee has a huge profile in India, but also possesses deep credibility by demonstrating a high level of engagement and embracing Indian culture, as a result of his stellar cricketing career and ambassadorial and charity work in country. We are thrilled to have his support to tell more Indians why they should visit Australia for their next long haul holiday."

Lee said, "Having travelled to India some 60 plus times, I now look forward, as a Friend of Australia ambassador, to encouraging Indians to visit this wonderful country and experience all that Australia has to offer."

The travel agents and tour operators participating in the familiarisation visit are among the top sellers of Australian holidays in Mumbai, Delhi and other major secondary cities in India. During their time in Australia they have already experienced Sydney and the Hunter Region (NSW), the Gold Coast (Queensland), Perth and Fremantle (Western Australia), and will now disperse throughout Victoria.

Following the Melbourne leg of their visit, where they are meeting with Australian tourism product suppliers, a number of agents will also visit The Whitsundays, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef (Queensland), Adelaide, the Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island (South Australia).

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