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The Staggering Impact Of Art Deco Festival Napier Across Hawke’s Bay And New Zealand

A report by Event Economics, a division of Freshinfo, has revealed the staggering economic and social impacts of the four-day 2024 Art Deco Festival Napier (15-18 February) in the region. Data analysis and attendee surveys demonstrate the substantial economic windfall generated by the festival.

The report notes that the Art Deco Festival Napier 2024 injected $8.7 million into the Hawke’s Bay economy, and a staggering $22 million gross benefit to the wider New Zealand economy.

“With over 18,000 unique event attendees, counting each attendee only once, representing 23,000+ visitor nights, the festival ranks as one of the largest arts, cultural and heritage events in New Zealand and a highlight on the Hawke’s Bay regional calendar,” says Barbara Arnott, Chair of the Art Deco Trust, the organisation responsible for producing the festival.

Fourth-time lucky, after years of COVID disruptions and more recently the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle, the 2024 Festival delivered not only a memorable event for the region, but a huge economic impact, which reverberates around the country.

Making up 10% of all attendees, the report notes that international visitors to the festival spent an estimated $9m while in New Zealand, staying for almost 3 weeks, which equates to 30,000+ visitor nights.

However, there is concern that the proposed defunding of Hawke’s Bay Tourism, currently receiving $1.52 million annually from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, would lead to a devastating halt in promotional activities for regional tourism, including the Art Deco Trust, from July of this year. This cessation would include the closure of Hawke’s Bay Tourism’s website and the severance of its connections with local, national and international media outlets.

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“We work very closely with Hawke’s Bay Tourism to drive visitation to the region, and any disruption in these marketing activities would have dire consequences on the established marketing infrastructure,” says Arnott, stressing that even a temporary hiatus in marketing activities would be “devastating for the region as a whole.” Arnott labelled the potential defunding of Hawke’s Bay Tourism as draconian decision making.

“Hawke’s Bay Regional Council was identified as the most appropriate regional agency to deliver a cost-effective funding model to support regional marketing, and the proposed defunding of Hawke’s Bay Tourism will be felt by all,” states Arnott. “Our hugely successful marketing campaigns are reliant on Hawke’s Bay Tourism, a well-oiled marketing machine that, in addition to supporting the festival, facilitates our attendance to trade shows where we have the opportunity to connect with agents.”

“The marketing of destination Hawke’s Bay is a collaborative endeavour developed and refined over many years. Defunding Hawke’s Bay Tourism will have cascading repercussions that will impact the festival, tourism, and extend beyond the tourist sector, affecting businesses across the region.” says Arnott.

“We’re all going to feel the pinch, with long-lasting consequences, which is totally avoidable if we can maintain Hawke’s Bay Tourism. The impact of tourism in Hawke’s Bay resonates deeply, benefiting not only the 10% of Hawke’s Bay workers directly employed in tourism but also the 80% of tourism spending that permeates the wider economy.”

Businesses like Subway on Carlyle Street are among the many establishments reaping the rewards of tourism and events like the festival. According to an employee at Subway on Carlyle Steet, "We bring on additional staff during the festival weekend to accommodate the surge in demand." These sentiments are echoed throughout Napier, as Steve Kelly, owner of Market Street Bar, describes the Art Deco Festival 2024 as his most lucrative trading days ever.

“The festival promotes Art Deco Napier and visitation year-round. Visitation is crucial for protecting our built heritage. Tourism not only benefits the economic well-being of our community but also protects our heritage - both inseparable endeavours,” claims Arnott.

Arnott underscored that an estimated 20 percent of all visitor expenditure to the region directly benefits the tourism industry, while a staggering 80 percent circulates within the wider community. Grocers, cafes, and various other businesses reap the rewards of tourism, contributing to the region’s economic prosperity.

“Our hugely popular festival and the wider tourism ecosystem didn’t happen by accident. It is the product of a well-oiled marketing machine, built and tuned over the years to deliver staggering results, as this recent report proves.”

The Art Deco Festival 2024 impacts:

  • 50,000+ visits to Art Deco Festival Napier event;
  • The estimated gross benefit to the New Zealand economy of $22 million;
  • $9.5 million of international visitor expenditure across New Zealand;
  • $8.7 million gross benefit to Hawke’s Bay regional economy hosting the festival;
  • 23,262 visitor nights, at an average of 3.65 nights per visitor in Hawke’s Bay; and
  • The benefit-cost ratio for Hawke’s Bay was 1.44, equivalent to a 44% return on investment.

© Scoop Media

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