Festival has huge impact on Queenstown visitor numbers and economy

Posted by Jen Andrews (0 Comments)
Thursday, 16 December 2010 in Press Releases

New research shows that besides its position as a much loved local celebration of winter, the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival is also a serious earner with 30,000 visitors taking part and spending an estimated $50m* during the 10 day event.

An economic impact and sustainability report, commissioned for the 2010 American Express Queenstown Winter Festival and financed by a $50,000 grant from the New Zealand Major Events fund, offers valuable insights into who attends festival, where they’re from and what they spend in the region.

The report is based on the findings of individual interviews with 370 festival visitors.  It reveals that visitors come from around the country, Australia and Queenstown’s traditional global markets and contribute significantly to the local economy.  It also shows that some 64% of visitors knew about the festival prior to their visit.

Destination Queenstown CEO Tony Everitt says the survey proves to him what he already suspected – that the festival has a wonderful impact on the Queenstown community on many levels and is a highly effective way of telling the world that winter in Queenstown starts with the Queenstown Winter Festival.

“We now know for sure that many people come specifically for the festival and that we’re particularly successful in attracting Australian and Auckland visitors to the event.  The festival is doing the job for Queenstown of providing an energetic and fun start to our winter season at a time which would otherwise be relatively quiet.” 

Festival Director Simon Green is delighted with the findings.

“We are very pleased to be able to actually prove the success of the festival - that tens of thousands come, stay an average of five nights, participate in events and spend money.  It’s gratifying to see that festival really does make a significant contribution to Queenstown’s tourism numbers and economy while maintaining its intensely local flavour and providing an opportunity for local people to reconnect and have fun.”

Mr Green is also pleased to announce that every member of the core production team behind the 2010 event is to return to deliver Queenstown Winter Festival 2011.

“In a transient town such as Queenstown, it’s no mean feat to pull together such a talented and efficient team.  The festival is an incredibly special event and our team members are among the many people who are passionate about its continued success and longevity.”

Queenstown Winter Festival 2011 opens on 24 June and runs until 3 July 2011 – the week immediately prior to the New Zealand winter school holidays.  

Mr Green promises the return of festival favourites such as the Opening Party and Fireworks, Street Parade, Mardi Gras, Festival Ball and Thriller in the Chiller.

“But we have tweaked the programme a little; there are some fantastic new events on in planning stages – just to keep everyone on their toes.”

*$50m – this is an estimate based on the information provided by respondents. 


Research highlights:

  • 30,000 visitors engaged in the Queenstown Winter Festival 2010 events.
  • The total number of visitors in Queenstown over the Festival period was 45,000.
  • The economic impact of the Festival through visitor expenditure alone is substantial, possibly up to NZ$57,998,880m without multipliers (assuming 30,000 visitors).
  • About half the participants were domestic and half international visitors. The biggest source of domestic visitors (not accounting for local residents) was the Auckland region.
  • The biggest international market recorded by far was Australia. (The predominance of visitors originating from within New Zealand (50.8%) or Australia (28.1%) accounted for over three-quarters of respondents. Australia accounted for 56.8% of all international visitors, while 12.6% were from UK).
  • 45% of visitors were enjoying their first visit to Queenstown, 40% were on a return visit and the remaining 15% were local residents.
  • A significant proportion of Festival attendees are below the age of 40.
  • The draw of the Festival is stronger for domestic visitors than it is for international visitors.
  • International visitors exhibit a higher average spend than domestic visitors.
  • Most visitors stayed in hotels (30.4%).  Staying with friends, family or their own homes was second (17%).
  • Average length of stay was 4.98, slightly higher for international visitors while lower for domestic visitors.
  • Some 63.9% of respondents were aware, with 82% of domestic visitors and 50.8% of international visitors stating that they were aware of the Festival before they arrived.

For more information please contact:

Jen Andrews
Communications Manager
Destination Queenstown
Phone: 03 441 0707
Email:  [email protected]