Champs to bring in $50m
TOURISTS have begun flooding into Melbourne for a historic soccer tournament tipped to pour more than $50 million into the state economy.
Figures reveal flight bookings to Melbourne from interstate have soared by more than 150 per cent compared with last year on dates the International Champions Cup will be played. European soccer giants Real Madrid, Manchester City and AS Roma will face off in the three-match tournament, starting tomorrow night.
Bookings for flights from Sydney have surged by 260 per cent and Adelaide by 256 per cent ahead of the tournament.
Sport Minister John Eren said more than half of the 200,000 plus people attending the tournament were expected to travel from interstate or abroad.
“And we are only too pleased to welcome them to Victoria,’’ he said.
Booking website Skyscanner also reported a surge in visitors from Brisbane (162 per cent), Darwin (151 per cent) and Perth (133 per cent).
Real Madrid yesterday took to the training pitch in the morning and afternoon, while AS Roma players trained at Lakeside Oval last night ahead of their opening match tomorrow night.
Thousands of fans are expected at Real Madrid’s first open training session at the MCG today.