21 April 2023

Records broken as extra $20.8m injected into local economy from Canberra's Multicultural Festival

| Claire Fenwicke
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2023 National Multicultural Festival Canberra

The 25th anniversary of Canberra’s MultiCulti was a huge hit according to official figures. Photo: National Multicultural Festival Facebook.

The thrice-delayed 25th anniversary of the National Multicultural Festival returned to Canberra with a bang, blowing event estimates out of the water.

Post-event research has found it generated a total economic benefit of $20.8 million, with a record total attendance of 380,563.

That number far outstrips the previous total attendance record of 250,000, and the government’s original estimates of 350,000.

Breaking it down, it equated to 273,965 people attending the event, with many coming back for more over the festival’s three days.

Meanwhile, 94.7 per cent of survey participants said they believed the event raised the profile of Canberra’s multicultural communities, and 93.8 per cent said the festival created a “real buzz” in the city.

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Multicultural Affairs Minister Tara Cheyne said all this data demonstrated the impact of the community-led event.

“After a two-year break due to COVID-19, the MultiCulti returned with a bang, with more than 40% of Canberra households attending in 2023,” she said.

Visitors were treated to 266 stalls, more than 325 performance groups, 34 workshops, 16 cooking demonstrations, a record-breaking 30 cultural showcases and the largest festival parade.

According to the IER research report, more than 30,500 interstate or international visitors attended the festival, with just under 18,000 of these travelling to the ACT specifically for the event.

Ms Cheyne said this boost to the local economy resulted in more than 40,000 visitor nights, and the $20.8 million benefit overshadowed the 2020 figures of 22,000 visitor nights and $12.2 million.

“I am proud that the scale and economic benefits of the National Multicultural Festival have been achieved by maintaining the strong community origins it began with in the 1980s, when the ACT Ethnic Communities Council held the first festival celebrating cultural diversity,” she said.

“The survey results found that 93.1 per cent of attendees confirm the festival enriches and strengthens Canberra as a diverse and multicultural community – a testament to the key role it plays in supporting Canberra as an inclusive and welcoming city.”

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A record 170 cultures were represented in the 2023 festival.

Conversations are already happening about next year’s festival, and whether it will need to move locations due to its increasing popularity.

But no matter what comes, Ms Cheyne believes it will continue to be a highlight of the Canberra calendar.

“We can’t wait for 2024!”

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I remember when the Multicultural Festival was just within the ACT Legislative Square now it’s all over Civic. It’s good to see it grow and become more popular but yeah, the overcrowding is a turn off. I noticed this year it has stretched to Glebe Park which is great as it’s a nice park and should be utilised more. I wonder if it’s practical to use Commonwealth park as well?

GrumpyGrandpa9:19 pm 21 Apr 23

Whenever I hear a politician quoting the “Economic Benefit”, I just smell political spin.

It just reminded of those Futsal grounds that were laid on the edge of LBG many years ago and all of their “Economic Benefit”.

“Whenever I hear a politician quoting the “Economic Benefit”, I just smell political spin.”
So you have data and/or research to refute the findings of the IER research report? I smell partisan bias in your comment.

GrumpyGrandpa4:50 pm 22 Apr 23

You think I’m showing Partisan bias?

I’m quite happy to bag out all sides of politics, of I don’t like what they say or do.
Kate Carnell was the Chief when the the Futsal courts were laid.
In the 20 years or so, I’ve just had more opportunity to make adverse comments about the ALP/Greens!
Who I bag out after 2024, will be dependent on the ACT voters.

I’m pleased to see you are an equal opportunity bagger.
Nevertheless, my question was “So you have data and/or research to refute the findings of the IER research report?” Do you? Bagging is fine – but surely it needs to be supported by facts.

Yeah, fair enough. The Multicultural Festival is different in comparison to the Futsal Grounds as more people attend the festival, I just see tumble weeds rolling across the Futsal Grounds. LOL I often see roads being ‘fixed up’ that weren’t bad to begin with and wonder ‘why is the ACT Government wasting money on this!?’

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