Victoria will celebrate its close ties with India with a new community festival held during Australia versus India Boxing Day Test at the MCG this year.
Premier Daniel Andrews joined Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide and cricket legend Dean Jones in Delhi today to announce the new festival that will be held outside the iconic MCG.
India and Australia share a special friendship – and a fierce cricketing rivalry.
Last time India played Test matches in Australia, more than 70,000 fans flocked to the MCG on Boxing Day alone, and millions more watched on TV as MS Dhoni’s team fought out a spirited draw.
Indians love their cricket – and they love watching it at the MCG. One-fifth of all Indian visitors to Victoria ensure a trip to the hallowed ground features is on their itinerary, while many will converge on Melbourne for the all-important installment of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.
“The Boxing Day Test is always one of the biggest dates on our sporting calendar. This year, we’ll use the occasion to celebrate the close bond we share with our Indian friends. This free festival outside the MCG will offer the very best culinary delights India has to offer, as well as a range of activities that everyone can enjoy. Our close ties with India is great for our tourism industry. It creates opportunities for businesses all over the state and provides jobs for Victorians,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.
“Cricket is culturally diverse, and we want to celebrate all the great things those cultures bring to our great game,” said Cricket Victoria CEO Tony Dodemaide.
The free festival will feature all the colours, sounds, sights and flavours that are quintessentially India. Food vans and stalls will offer up the best Indian cuisine, while fans will have a chance to play some cricket, sing, and dance and try their hand at other cultural activities.
Victoria’s world-leading tourism and events organisation Visit Victoria will promote the Boxing Day Test and the free festival to all corners of Australia and key markets around the world, attracting visitors to keep our hotels full, our shops busy and our bars and restaurants bustling.
The event will create renewed opportunities for Victoria and India to work side by side in expert areas such as sports technology, sports science, and event management. Some 135,000 visitors from India visited Victoria in 12 months ending September 2017, spending $373 million. That’s a 29 percent increase on the 12 months prior.
These figures will only get bigger as the Andrews Labor Government implements its ambitious plan – Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future – to nearly triple the expenditure by Indian visitors to Victoria.