Perth Festival attracts thousands of tourists and fosters social harmony and community pride in Western Australia, a new report shows.

More than 7,300 overseas and interstate visitors made a big economic impact on WA through the Festival last summer, recording 26,650 attendances and staying a combined 65,112 nights while they were here. Forty per cent of surveyed tourists said they had come to Perth specifically for the Festival.

The Festival evaluation by analysts Culture Counts shows that almost every key measure of artistic quality and social, cultural and economic impact increased in 2019 from the year before. Most people surveyed said the Festival made them feel proud of Perth and better connected to their community.

The Festival’s direct economic impact was $19 million, providing flow-on economic value to the State of $26.4 million and generating 581 full-time equivalent jobs.

Away from the spotlight, the Festival made a major impact with its arts sector development initiatives and the most comprehensive creative learning and education program of any arts festival in Australia. More than 4100 students in 45 schools took part in exceptional creative experiences in 2019.

Other key points:

  • The Festival successfully attracted new audiences, with 17% of people attending for the first time.
  • A third of the 202,328 people at the free opening spectacle Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak were making their very first or a rare outing to any arts event at all.
  • Tourists stayed in Perth an average of 9.5 nights and saw 3.9 Festival shows each.
  • Box office was $5.4 million, up 21% from $4.3 million in 2018.
  • The 147,355 tickets sold was a 14% increase from 2018.
  • Total attendance was 454,986 at 312 free and ticketed Festival events.
  • Audiences came from 99% of postcodes across the Perth metropolitan area.
  • Nearly all those surveyed (97%) said Australia’s longest-running international arts festival played an important role in our State’s cultural life (up 1%)
  • Some 96% of people said the Festival delivered high quality cultural experiences for the people of WA (up 2%).
  • Audiences spent $9.28 million on Festival events, meals, drinks, accommodation and other associated activities.
  • The Festival spent $9.34 million on WA artists, suppliers and workers.
  • The Festival featured 1407 artists from around the world (53% from WA, 11% interstate, 36% overseas).

‘This year, we were thrilled to welcome Festival audiences and artists in their hundreds of thousands – Western Australians and visitors from elsewhere sharing magic moments and unforgettable memories together,’ Festival Executive Director Nathan Bennett said.

‘The 2019 Festival was an outstanding conclusion of Artistic Director Wendy Martin’s four-year vision to celebrate this incredible corner of the world and the stories that make it unique,’ Mr Bennett said. ‘We owe a very big thanks to our audiences, sponsors and donors whose support for the Festival makes such a major, indelible positive impact on our community.

‘We can’t wait to see even more people at the Festival again next year as new Artistic Director Iain Grandage builds on our legacy of enriching life in Western Australia through art.’

The Culture Counts report combined ticketing data with wider expenditure analysis and a survey of more than 6600 people. 

Read the full report here and find images here.    

The 2020 Festival runs from February 7 to March 1. The program will be announced on October 31.

For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Stephen Bevis                                             

+61 8 6488 8618 / 0448 927 281             

sbevis@perthfestival.com.au  

Image: Boorna Waanginy: The Trees Speak, cr. JWyld