Andrew Barr’s office have released the event report on the inaugural Enlighten festival.
Over the four nights of staging ENLIGHTEN in 2011, the additional direct expenditure generated in the ACT totalled $0.6 million. This increase in direct expenditure gave rise to an increase in Gross Territory Product (GTP) totalling $0.9 million.
The total attendance figure was 8678, which includes multiple visits by attendees, as well as complimentary, promotional and VIP entries. Based on survey data, 64% of attendees were from the ACT, 36% were from interstate and 1% was from overseas. This correlated with Ticketek’s ticket sales postcode report, which indicated 63% were from the ACT, 34% were from interstate and 2% were unknown. The top source of interstate visitation at the event this year was Sydney and Regional NSW (28.1%), followed by Victoria (3.4%) and Queensland (1.5%). Some 49% of attendees identified that they first heard about ENLIGHTEN through stories in the media (with newspapers ranking highest), while 21% first heard about the event through family, friends or workmates.
A total of 2415 interstate and international visitors (unique visits) came to Canberra specifically to attend ENLIGHTEN or extended their stay because of it; and of that total, almost two-thirds (65%) stayed for one or more nights in the ACT. The average length of stay for interstate overnight visitors who came to Canberra specifically to attend ENLIGHTEN was 1.6 nights. Of the interstate and international visitors surveyed, 47% indicated that they also visited other venues/attractions during their stay. Among the responses, the Australian War Memorial and Parliament House were the most popular.
Satisfaction levels with different aspects of the event were also gauged. From this, 89% specified that they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’ with their overall experience at the event and 79% were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’ with ENLIGHTEN in terms of value for money. Regarding ticketing options available and the process for selecting and booking tickets, 72% and 73%, respectively, were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘somewhat satisfied’.
In terms of how ENLIGHTEN affected perceptions of Canberra, 57% of attendees surveyed viewed Canberra in a more positive light as a result of the event; while 41% indicated no change in their overall perception of Canberra. Attendees were also asked about their interest in a number of possible elements for inclusion in future ENLIGHTEN events. The elements that created the most interest were ‘lighting effects on additional national attraction buildings’ (87%), ‘a nightglow display from multiple hot air balloons’ (84%), and ‘additional national attraction partners featuring late night activities’ (80%).
We all have to start somewhere but that seems like a lot of public effort and expense for something the hotels could be putting on for themselves.
UPDATE: Andrew Barr is rolling it in glitter:
While the ACT Government would have liked to attract higher numbers in the first year, we understand there is generally a five year development cycle for building-up these sorts of events. This certainly was the case with Floriade which had humble beginnings but has now grown into Australia’s premier spring event.