The sex industry is expected to be blessed with an increase in customers thanks to the most unlikely of sources — World Youth Day.

A report by Industry analysts IBIS World predicted the 2008-09 financial year would see strong growth for brothels, strip clubs and prostitutes, primarily on the back of a marked increase in tourism levels to Sydney as a result of the Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

IBIS World senior industry analyst Ed Butler said the report did not suggest the 225,000 international pilgrims or clergy would be heading to brothels or strip clubs.

But the event, to be held from July 15 to 20, would also draw people from outside the church including tourists, support staff and media — and some of them would use the sex industry's services.

"Any major event will drive tourism, which is closely related to the sex industry … and World Youth Day will also bring out a certain number of non-religious people," he said.

Butler added that Pope Benedict XVI's visit would give Sydney and Australia exposure in foreign markets, driving tourism growth after the event had finished.

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