Tourism Australia is to launch a marketing drive in conjunction with the start of the Ashes next Wednesday.

Tourism Australia regional general manager UK/Europe Rodney Harrex said the last Ashes series held in Australia in 2006/07 saw 35,000 UK cricket fans travel to the country, spending £155 million.

With both teams equally matched for this summer’s heavily anticipated series of five five-day cricket matches between England and Australia, the tourist board is hoping to cash in by turning even more people’s thoughts to visiting Down Under.

Harrex said: “These impressive figures highlight the opportunity for Australia as a tourist destination in the summer of 2010/11 when we’ll welcome the English team and their fans back on to Aussie soil.

“As the national tourist office, we will harness the excitement about the series to persuade people to travel for the matches and to travel around Australia between fixtures.

“We will also use the phenomenal noise around the series to showcase Australia’s tourism credentials to potential visitors who may not travel for the cricket, but who are exposed to the media coverage resulting from the cricket fixtures.”

He added initial marketing will see adverts for the destination in the Ashes programmes, while Ashes content will be added to the marketing board’s website, australia.com.

Harrex said further marketing activity is being planned and while he refused to be drawn on the exact detail, he confirmed agents will benefit from the programme.

“Travel agents remain a key channel for us and we will use our Aussie Specialist Programme to further educate agents on selling the destination, so that they are equipped to deal with the increased consumer interest about Australia ahead of the 2010/11 Ashes series,” Harrex said.

Image: Steve Bardens/Rex Features