The Capital’s most iconic annual tourism event celebrated three decades this year by attracting a 10 per cent increase in visitors compared to last year’s figures.
A total of 433,959 people visited Floriade at Commonwealth Park during the 30-day event, providing a strong boost to Canberra’s tourism industry.
Floriade organisers credit the rise in numbers to new opening hours, more garden beds, and new features like an enhanced site design and sculpture garden, as well as the extension of the NightFest program – Floriade’s unique, “after-dark experience”.
To celebrate its 30-year milestone this year, Floriade’s theme was aptly titled ‘rejuvenation’, and the visitor numbers indicate the iconic event may have indeed been given new life.
The extension of NightFest across two weekends saw a total of 29,743 visitors enjoying the after-dark program – of which, 61 percent were first-time visitors. In comparison, 28 percent of visitors to Floriade were first-timers, which indicate significant loyalty and patronage among Floriade regulars.
This year’s event also made an impression on its visitors, with organisers recounting an overall visitor satisfaction rating of 3.9 out of 5. A significant proportion of non-local visitors (77 per cent) have said that Floriade made them want to revisit Canberra, with 37 per cent of non-local visitors saying Floriade improved their perception of the Capital city.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Floriade continues to appeal to repeat visitors while also successfully attracting new visitors.
“As one of Canberra’s leading flagship events, Floriade supports the vision of the 2025 Major Events Strategy for the ACT to have Canberra recognised as a world-class events destination, one whose events reflect the city’s essence and personality,” Mr Barr said.
However, the spike in attendance this year still does not compare to the years before 2016 when numbers were significantly higher. In 2015, for instance, the total attendance rate for Floriade stood at 480,451, indicating that there is still some catching up to do.
A spokesperson for Mr Barr said that planning is already underway for next year’s event.
“As Floriade takes 18 months in preparation, plans are already underway for Floriade 2018,” the spokesperson said.
“Extensive visitor feedback helps guide the event’s growth and direction.”
The event is said to contribute around $40 million to ACT’s economy annually.
Did you visit Floriade and/or NightFest this year? What were your thoughts on the event(s)? Share your experiences with us by commenting below.