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Monday, 23 April 2018 05:10 am

Record visitors for Homegrown provide fresh economy boost

Apr 5th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

Fat Freddy’s Drop performing (Courtesy Brady Dyer/Homegrown)

A record number of festival-goers are heading to Homegrown Wellington this weekend, providing a $7.2 million boost for the local economy.

Close to 14,000 visitors are coming for the festival, giving the capital an early boost towards matching the record $2.5 billion tourist spending last year.

Homegrown spokesperson Kelly Wright says this year’s 18,000 public tickets sold in six and half weeks, the earliest Homegrown has ever sold out.

“Usually 48 or 50% come from outside the region, but this year it was 77%, the impact of that is pretty huge,” Wright says.

The Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency general manager of events Warrick Dent says a 2013 survey revealed 72 per cent of out-of-region visitors to Homegrown stayed at least two nights.

“The expected overall economic impact for Wellington of Homegrown 2018 is $7.2 million,” Dent says.

He says the money mostly goes into accommodation, hospitality and retail services.

“It adds colour and vibrancy to the city’s event offering at the start of autumn, a time when visitor numbers start to drop away from those experienced during the peak summer period.”

Wright says capacity has grown slightly every year, with tweaking of the stages.

“When we started out it was only 15,000 and it’s grown to 18,000,” Wright. says

The addition of the new City Stage, targeted at an older demographic, is credited with the quick sell out.

“A slightly older demographic is more likely to stay in a hotel than on a couch with family, so there’s probably a heavier weighting on accommodation spending from them,” Dent says.

The stage will feature “mellow” artists such as Dave Dobbyn and Anika Moa.

Homegrown started in 2008 with 35 acts attracting a crowd of 14,000. On Saturday 45 acts on five stages will perform in front of a capacity crowd of 20,500.

According to an MBIE report Wellington made a record $2.5 billion from tourist spending in the past year, with more spending in the summer months, slowing down during winter.

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