AO Snapshot: How tennis is serving the visitor economy

Australian Open 2019 is underway and promises to be bigger and better than ever. The Open is the largest annual sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere, bringing the world’s best players to Melbourne Park. 

Fans from all over the world fly to Melbourne to catch their superstar tennis heroes in action, and Doreen and Eileen Ho are no exceptions to that rule. The sisters flew from their hometown of Kuala Lumpur for the opportunity to see some of the world's best players in the flesh. 

"We are here for a week and have lined up four games over the first two days of competition. We're big Roger Federer fans so it's been a great opportunity to watch him play live," said Doreen. "The Australian Open has been on my bucket list for awhile. I bought tickets for the earlier matches as the later ones are more expensive."

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The sisters cited the tournament set-up and location as an advantage (pun intended) of the Australian Open circuit. "It's a very well-organised event, with a fantastic atmosphere. Rod Laver Arena really is one of the best built venues for tennis; every angle has an excellent view of the court," said Doreen. "Even if you can't get tickets for a big game, it's worth going. The ground pass is more affordable and makes it easy for you to walk around and enjoy all the activities on offer, catch a few practice sessions and attend some earlier matches." 

When they're not at the tennis, the sisters are big fans of all that Melbourne has to offer. "The food scene here is incredible, just the sheer variety of what's on offer is amazing. We love the laid-back vibe, the shopping, the beaches, bar-hopping and of course, the coffee," said Eileen. "It's so easy to get around; you can do so much in a day. We also have many friends here so we have to say we love the people as well!"

Naturally, their pick to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup doesn't stray too far from their Swiss allegiance. "We're hoping Federer will win, but realistically we think it's likely to be either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal," said Doreen. 

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Last year the Open attracted a record breaking 743,667 fans and close to a billion viewers watched online or on TV. “Each year the Australian Open injects more than $290 million into the Victorian economy and creates more than 1000 jobs, making it one of the most significant events on our jam packed major events calendar. We’ve invested $972 million to upgrade Melbourne Park to ensure it remains the most successful Grand Slam tennis event in the world,” said Minister for Tourism Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula. 

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