Shakespeare Festival delivers boost to tourist economy

STATISTICS released by the organising committee for the Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival show the event has a significant impact on the town’s economy.

Data compiled through an audience survey during last year’s festival of people from outside the 2422 postcode showed the total average spend by daytrip visitors was $125 per person, while overnight visitors spent $216 per person while in Gloucester. 

The survey asked people questions including how much they spent per person on accommodation, dining out and shopping at the Elizabethan Fair as well as shopping at main street businesses and on petrol. 

Day trippers spent an average of $88 per person in town businesses (shopping, dining out and petrol) while overnight visitors spent $112 per person plus a further $75 per person on accommodation. 

Additionally, day trippers were larger spenders at the Elizabethan Fair, parting with $39 per person while the overnighters spent $29 per person.

Tourism manager Wendy Hughes was impressed with the results of the survey. 

“It’s always been difficult to quantify the spending habits of visitors especially day trippers,” she said. 

“We already know from government research that Gloucester’s visitor economy is worth $30 million annually but the research on day trippers has never been published. 

“Now we have an excellent example of the spending habits of visitors to a long-standing Gloucester event. 

“This is the perfect rebuke to those community members who constantly malign the impact of the visitor economy to our town.”  

Audience satisfaction was also tracked in the survey. 

Overall satisfaction with the 2013 festival was 4.2 (out of five) with day trippers (4.5) ranking all parts of their Gloucester visit a little higher than the overnighters (4.3). 

Interestingly, the overall satisfaction of those living in the 2422 postcode was lower at 3.9. 

“We’ve always known that the locals are harder to please, now we have the statistics that agree with us. But that just makes us try a little bit harder each year,” committee chairperson Maureen Hjorth said.

The 2014 Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival features The Merchant of Venice by Stooged Theatre and runs from May 8 to 10.

The festival is a not-for-profit community-run event, auspiced by Gloucester Shire Council. 

It is included in council’s events strategy to drive visitors to Gloucester as part of the shire’s community strategic plan.

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