Tasmania securing the fifth Ashes Test will offer much more than the rare chance for sport fans to witness a top-class international cricket match, it also provides an opportunity to showcase the state to a worldwide audience of millions.
The announcement could not have come at a more opportune time, either, with Tasmania having just surpassed the 90 per cent vaccination threshold for people aged over 16 and borders set to fully reopen to interstate visitors on Wednesday.
The five-day Test, which will take place from January 14, will be the biggest sporting event in the state's history, and in addition to the short-term tourism increase the match itself will bring, the long-term economic benefit will be far greater.
As The Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania pointed out on the weekend, the Ashes offers the state the kind of global promotion that money can't normally buy.
It goes without saying that the tourism and hospitality industries have taken a big hit over the past couple of years, and while the gradual return of visitors from some mainland states has helped spark a slow but steady rise for the sectors, the Ashes has the ability to turbo-charge that recovery.
Tasmania has enjoyed a well-earned reputation as one of the safest places on the planet over the past 20 months, and having the chance to exhibit the state's natural beauty for international audiences will also help further our reputation as one of the world's most desirable holiday destinations.
Tasmanians have shown they will support quality sporting matches over the past year, with big crowds turning out for AFL, BBL, WBBL and NBL games. Each day of the Test will have a crowd capacity of up to 14,000, and if we want to continue to attract big-ticket sporting events, it's important that as many of those seats as possible are filled every day between January 14 and 18.
As TICT chief executive Luke Martin succinctly put it: "I really want to see Tasmanians filing up Blundstone Arena across all five days of the Test, not only to create a great atmosphere, but also to stick it up Shane Warne and all the other doubters who say we don't turn up for Test cricket."
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