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SYDNEY, Jan 21 AAP

January 21 2013, 12:14AM

A new partnership between the Sydney Opera House and Etihad Airways will bring more international artists and visitors to Australia, the NSW government says.

Tourism minister George Souris announced the multi-million sponsorship deal on Monday, saying it would raise Sydney as one of the world's great tourist and cultural destinations.

"(The deal will) ultimately benefit Sydney, NSW and Australia, as well as our tourism potential and the enhancement of our cultural offering," Mr Souris told reporters in Sydney.

Opera House CEO, Louise Herron said the majority of the sponsorship was non-specific cash that would help fund art projects, dining and programming to encourage visitors to enjoy what's on offer inside the Opera House, rather than focusing on its iconic exterior.

"As a result of this partnership between our two international brands, we will be able to welcome more artists and visitors from around the world to experience ... what we offer," she said.

Etihad's Australia and New Zealand general manager, Luisa Pastrello, said the airline planned to work towards developing initiatives to promote international tourism to Sydney.

This partnership complements the $6 million agreement between Etihad Airways and Tourism Australia announced last year.