This year’s Enlighten Festival broke records in both attendance and economic impact.
Attracting a record 328,087 visitors across 17 days, research indicates 11.2 per cent of attendees attended from interstate or overseas. Just under 11,000 of these interstate or international visitors came to Canberra specifically to attend one or more of the Enlighten Festival events – a testament to the programming and events that capture the culture and creativity of our city.
According to the IER Pty Ltd research report, visitors to the Enlighten Illuminations (including ticketed events) and the Canberra Night Noodle Markets contributed a direct expenditure of $5.5 million to the ACT, up from $4.8 million in 2018.
The 2019 Enlighten Festival held in March comprised nine feature events including the Enlighten Illuminations, the Canberra Night Noodle Market, Lights! Canberra! Action!, Symphony in the Park, Canberra Day, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular and Hit 104.7 Skyfire. Canberra’s national institutions continue to be a key feature of the festival with 13 participating throughout the 2019 program. The festival once again included activations at The Australian National University and in the city precinct in partnership with the City Renewal Authority.
Research about attendees’ attitude about the festival showed overall attendees held a positive sentiment towards major events and their impact on Canberra. Specifically, 93.6 per cent of those surveyed considered running events like the Enlighten Festival each year to be either very important or important, and 79.0 per cent felt using taxpayer money to stage the event was reasonable.
Highlights included the always popular Canberra Night Noodle Markets, the continued expansion of more local food offerings across the Illumination nights, a Bee Gees tribute at Symphony in the Park and Beagle Maximus taking to the sky during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.
These are fantastic results for the ninth year of this event which continues to demonstrate the positive impact major events have on the Canberra economy as well as the ongoing contribution events have to enhancing Canberra’s reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.