As the curtains draw to a close on what is set to be a record-breaking Melbourne International Comedy Festival, new research has revealed the value to Victorians of investing in creative festivals and major events.
The 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is on track to be the biggest ever. With a huge final day and night still to go, ticket sales are predicted to surpass the previous record box office of $19.7 million set in 2019.
Another of Melbourne’s flagship cultural events has demonstrated the impact of festivals. Figures released today reveal that the return of the Melbourne Fringe Festival last October generated $22.9 million for the state, with attendees spending big in restaurants, bars, retailers and hotels.
The Andrews Labor Government’s action in securing the best major events is helping to drive the state’s sustained economic recovery with Victoria’s visitor economy worth $31.5 billion – back to 97 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
From comedy and cabaret to cricket and cars, Victoria’s unparalleled major events calendar pays big dividends in terms of jobs and business activity. A 2018 report put the value of major events to the state at $2.5 billion annually.
Blockbuster results include the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup which pumped more than $210 million into the economy and created almost 1,000 jobs. An independent study showed more than 327,000 Victorians and interstate and international visitors attended 13 matches, delivering 226,000 room nights last October and November.
The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix set a new crowd record of more than 444,000 just three weeks ago. An economic impact study conducted by consultants EY on the 2022 event found the Grand Prix had an economic impact of $171 million and generated more than 730 jobs.
The 2022 Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition at NGV The Picasso Century delivered financially as well as culturally with the highest economic impact in the history of the series, with $91 million generated for the state.
Across regional Victoria, hugely successful events include Kings of Leon playing in Mildura, the Elvis: Direct from Graceland exhibition in Bendigo, the iconic Bells Beach Rip Curl Pro and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Currently, ACMI has the world-premiere exhibition Goddess: Power Glamour, Rebellion and Melbourne's famous theatres are booming with hit productions such as & Juliet and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
In the months ahead, the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition Pierre Bonnard will open at the NGV, RISING will see artists take over the city and the Matildas will take on France at Marvel Stadium.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Creative Industries and Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos
“These figures confirm Melbourne is Australia’s creative capital and the home of major events, driving business activity and supporting thousands of jobs.”
“Investing in our festivals and big events attracts visitors in large numbers and our cafes, bars and hotels are buzzing.”
Quote attributable to Melbourne International Comedy Festival Director Susan Provan AO
“The past month has seen well over half a million comedy lovers making the most of having the world’s best comedians here in our city. We have so loved seeing Melbourne alive with happy crowds.”
Quote attributable to Melbourne Fringe Festival Creative Director and CEO Simon Abrahams
“Melbourne Fringe’s job is to bring extraordinary art to life in our city – it’s exciting that this incredible cultural impact is matched by such strong economic impact back to Victoria.”
Reviewed 23 April 2023