Australia has more to offer this season than just sunshine and beautiful beaches, with Aussies attending major sporting events at the heart of their summer activities.

The Australian Open wins game, set and match when it comes to Australians rating the best summer sporting events.

According to the more than the 850 Australians surveyed by pollster Nielsen, 37 per cent of people said the Australian Open is the must watch summer spectacle. Lazy days spent at the cricket are not far behind with 28 per cent keen to watch the summer test matches.

Tourism & Transport Forum Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond said sporting events are always big drivers of visitation, often attracting fans from interstate and overseas.

“Whether watching from the comfort of your couch or heading to the iconic sporting stadiums, arenas and ovals to experience the excitement of cheering on your favourite professionals, Aussies love their summer sport,” Ms Osmond said.

“Rev heads are patiently waiting for the green flag to kick-start the Formula 1 Grand Prix and V8 Supercar series, with 29 per cent of people nationally saying the roar of engines is their favourite sporting event of the season.

“A big part of how we increase foot traffic to major sporting events is through destination marketing. In a tight fiscal environment governments will come under pressure to reduce spending, but continued investment in tourism marketing and major events is crucial to maintaining our international competitiveness.

“Overwhelming 64 per cent of Australians said it was important or very important for state and territory governments to be involved with attracting and securing major events.

“In a sign for growing investment in the cultural tourism area, 31 per cent of people said they were most likely to travel overnight for a performing arts, cultural exhibition of concert.

“However, seven out of ten people cited expense as the reason for discouraging travelling overnight for a major event, with a musical concert or festival being cited as the most popular reason for travelling overnight for an event”.

“Australians love their sport and the holiday period always sees record waves of fans out and about enjoying the diverse sporting offerings. No matter what sport you love, there is something for everyone,” Ms Osmond said.