New Mardi Gras today announced the signing of a new sponsorship agreement making Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Blue Airlines Group official airlines for the Sydney event.
Virgin Blue Airlines group includes brand new long haul international airline V Australia, long time New Mardi Gras supporter Virgin Blue and sister airline Pacific Blue which flies to New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands.
The new four year agreement, designed to target growth in visitor numbers to the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras will see the airlines assist in promoting the event across a growing network now spanning 28 Australian cities and towns and 13 international destinations including the USA, South Pacific and Southeast Asian countries.
“Mardi Gras is an amazing, spectacular, international celebration and across our network our team understand the significance and importance of it,” said Heather Jeffery, General Manager of Media and Communications for the Virgin Blue Airlines Group.
“Many of our Virgin Blue team members have had enormous fun supporting Mardi Gras for the past three years. With our expanding network, we look forward to bringing more international and local visitors to experience the colour, creativity and community which underpin this iconic Sydney event,” she said.
“I am so proud that Virgin Blue is back for another term and tremendously excited that V Australia has come on board,” said New Mardi Gras CEO Anna McInerney.
“We have a very clear goal and that is to make the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras the world’s number one gay event for the benefit of locals and visitors alike. This partnership will help us get the message out to a much bigger international audience.”
“It demonstrates the value Virgin sees in the partnership it has had with New Mardi Gras over the last three years, while the addition of V Australia will mean expanded support in international markets.
“Through this exciting new partnership, patrons will be able to access a range of great flight options through Virgin Blue, V Australia and Pacific Blue.
“We will be encouraging people to fly with New Mardi Gras friendly airlines and Virgin Blue and V Australia’s booking facilities will be easily accessible via the New Mardi Gras website so that patrons can easily find flight prices and times for their trip to Sydney.
In August, Events NSW research showing that Mardi Gras brought over 21,000 visitors into New South Wales in 2009, generating almost $30 million in new money for the State. Of these visitors New Mardi Gras estimates that just under half are international travelers with the US and UK each accounting for just under a third of the total.