Festival of Lights injects $4.6m, attracts 8000 visitors

PRESS RELEASE: New Plymouth District Council

A survey on the New Plymouth District Council-run TSB Festival of Lights has highlighted the significant contribution the summer spectacular is making to the region’s economy.

For the first time in the festival’s history, an economic impact survey was carried out and revealed total spend added a value of more than $4.6m to Taranaki.

Conducted by Venture Taranaki, the survey over the 2016/17 season also shows close to 8,000 visitors made a trip to New Plymouth just to see the festival, stayed an average of three nights and spent about $257 per day on accommodation, food and drink and shopping.

NPDC Chief Operating Officer Kelvin Wright says while the Pukekura Park festival is focused on providing a fantastic event for the Taranaki community, it is pleasing to see so many people from outside the region travelling here for New Zealand’s leading light festival.

“We all know how lucky we are to have the TSB Festival of Lights on our doorstep, so it’s no surprise that word is spreading and people from outside Taranaki are coming to see what it’s all about,” said Mr Wright.

“We have so many fantastic things happening in our region, and with such a great summer calendar coming together for this season, we hope to see this visitor figure continue to grow as the festival continues.”

Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Stuart Trundle says the economic analysis reveals the TSB Festival of Lights to be a significant contributor to the events landscape, with many visitors travelling to New Plymouth to enjoy the lights and entertainment over the summer months.

“The spend resulting from this visitation flows into many sectors of the community including restaurants and cafes, transport, retail and accommodation.

“Over and above these quantifiable outcomes is the contribution the TSB Festival of Lights makes to the vibrancy of the district. It helps to put New Plymouth on the map, makes coming to the district a memorable experience, especially for families, and adds to the desirability of the district as a place to live and visit.”

The seven-week festival attracted more than 125,000 people across the 2016/17 season, with 68 per cent of visitors attending more than twice. The total spend by those visitors added a value of $4,686,417 to the region.

With the festival fast approaching, planning is well underway for another jam-packed season of entertaining performances, activities and events for the whole family.

This year, in addition to the Summer Scene and On-Stage calendars, a Summer Seniors programme has also been introduced to cater for older folk in Taranaki. Events catering for those over 60 include Pilates, Zumba, marimba and ukulele lessons and music from the Devon Hotel Brass Band.

This season’s TSB Festival of Lights runs from 16 December 2017 until 5 February 2018 and more information is available at festivaloflights.nz.

Festival fast facts
• The lighting route is 3.5 kilometres of walkways through Pukekura Park.
• The TSB tunnel of Light on Poet’s bridge includes 1000 LED light points and more than 150 hours of design and development time.
• Each season the lights are on for 50 nights.
• There are, on average, over 21 staff and volunteers working behind the scenes each night at the festival.
• It takes approximately six weeks to install all the lights and cabling through the park for the festival.

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