Extending the Adelaide Fringe by a week has helped boost its economic contribution to South Australia by 34 per cent to $64.6 million, according to research released this morning.
Based on ticket sales, audience attendances and a survey of more than 3000 people, the figures by Economic Research Consultants show that more than 1.8 million people attended the 2013 Fringe festivities – up 13 per cent on last year.
Ticket sales rose by 10.9 per cent to 407,153.
Adelaide Fringe chair Judy Potter told InDaily that extending the festival to four weeks was one of the key reasons for the improved result. She said the event was also reaping the benefits of a strategy to boost its profile interstate.
“It’s fantastic that an event that is so loved by South Australia also gives so much back to the economy of South Australia.
“South Australians continue their love of the Fringe but what we are also seeing is increased people from out of the state coming to enjoy the Fringe and to perform.”
The researchers said more than 52,000 “visitor bed nights” were created during Fringe 2013, with an average spend of $1288 per visitor group and total interstate-visitor-related expenditure of $17.9 million.
This year, for the first time, Fringe appointed an ambassador – comedian, artist and TV personality Paul McDermott – to help promote the event around the country.
Fringe director Greg Clarke said the wealth of talent showcased during the 2013 event was “unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before”, while Potter added that new venues such as the pop-up bars contributed to the Fringe “ambiance”.
“We would fail if we hadn’t grown this year with the extra week,” she said.
“Can it keep growing? We still believe there’s growth left in this event if we approach it strategically.”
Research in previous years has focussed solely on qualitative data, but this year South Australians and visitors to the state were also questioned about the broader value and benefits of the event. According to the consultants’ research, 94 per cent rated the Fringe as important or very important to SA, 94 per cent said it was both economically and culturally important, and 79 per cent of “non-users” surveyed said Mad March contributed in a positive way to Adelaide.
“I think that’s clearly saying there is a great love of this event for South Australians,” Potter said.
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