Big spenders Illuminate Adelaide coffers

Adelaide’s new winter light shows helped illuminate a $44.8 million windfall for the state with latest figures heralding this year’s July spend as the strongest in the central business district’s history.

Nov 08, 2022, updated Nov 08, 2022
Light Cycles illuminates the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Photo: Moment Factory

Light Cycles illuminates the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Photo: Moment Factory

The Illuminate Adelaide festival delivered the heightened economic activity through a spectacle of art, light and sound in the drearier winter month of July, with numbers showing the statewide event drew 9863 interstate and overseas visitors to ticketed shows.

Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison said it led to businesses in Adelaide’s CBD and North Adelaide recording their strongest month since December, 2021, with the data released yesterday by the Adelaide Economic Development Agency.

There was an estimated $365 million total spend across city shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels, up from $342 million in June.

“Illuminate Adelaide has grown so strongly that it is now driving significant social and economic activity not just in the CBD and North Adelaide but also in our regions,” Bettison said.

“The event has helped bring our city to life during the traditionally quieter winter months, encouraging people off their couches and into the city, spending in record amounts and celebrating the immersive magic of the installations.”

More South Australians were out and about at night with the figures showing spending levels between 6pm and 6am were higher in July than the ‘Mad March’ period earlier in the year.

Illuminate Adelaide also released an economic impact report, prepared by Professor Barry Burgan from Bond University, that included specific CBD data from the Adelaide Economic Development Agency.

According to the event’s co-founders and creative directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge, Illuminate Adelaide recorded an attendance of 1.2 million in only its second year.

There were 50,353 attendees to regional events staged in Renmark, Mount Gambier and Victor Harbor – as 407 artists presented with 44 new commissions from local and overseas technology and creative industries.

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Figures also showed there were 4600 employment opportunities generated across tourism, hospitality and associated industries, equivalent to 386 full-time jobs supported.

“We are also excited to see how Illuminate Adelaide has been embraced by South Australians and visitors alike consolidating its position as a major event in the annual calendar and a successful citywide celebration of art, light, music and technology that shines a light on Adelaide and generates significant benefits for the state in winter,” the pair said.

Acting City of Adelaide chief executive officer Ilia Houridis said he welcomed the increased visitation and economic boost that Illuminate Adelaide helped provide during July.

“The role major events such as Illuminate Adelaide play in supporting the city’s night-time economy should never be underestimated, so it was particularly pleasing to learn spending levels between 6pm-6am were consistent with the busy summer festival period,” Houridis said.


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