For those interested in the business of tourism, today’s big news came out of Adelaide. According to organisers of the famous Fringe festival, the event delivered a staggering $68.8 million worth of business to the state’s coffers!
Festival chairman David Minear discussed the overwhelming success of the event with the ABC. “It’s up quite significantly, it’s almost 7 or 8 per cent [higher] and our aim is to be regarded as the best fringe in the world,” he explained. “These sorts of numbers can echo around the world to other fringes, other festivals and underline just exactly what has been achieved in previous years.”
Organisers say that this year’s Fringe saw an improvement in ticket sales and crowd numbers. Sales were up by a solid 21 per cent, and a staggering 541,000 people attended ticketed events! With such incredible numbers, the festival is proving that little ideas can blossom into big things. Originally a grass-roots festival, Fringe has grown into its role as the state’s biggest and most attended event.
“The people of South Australia will tell us if we get too big,” Mr. Minear suggests. “Right now growth is coming in consistently year-on-year. We’re very mindful of the situation of our audiences and I think our growth in the future will probably come from more interstate and overseas [visitors].”
As part of an attempt to attract a wider and more sophisticated crowd, the Adelaide Fringe is shaking things up by announcing a new creative director. After five glorious years, the celebrated Greg Clarke will be replaced by Heather Croall, the internationally renowned producer behind the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.
For the state government, the Fringe Festival is a much-needed economic booster. With receipts creeping towards the hundred million dollar mark, the tourist-friendly event is just what the state auditor’s ordered. For other Australian cities considering greater investment in local tourism, it proves that the sky really is the limit.