World of Wearable Art's $25 million boost to Wellington economy

Scottish woman Margaret Allen(front), is the 20,000 visitor to the World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum. She is ...
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

Scottish woman Margaret Allen(front), is the 20,000 visitor to the World of Wearable Art & Classic Cars Museum. She is pictured with WOW cafe manager Rosetta Ciminiello, left, and museum manager Maria Ciminiello.

World of Wearable Art (WOW) has pumped more than $25 million into Wellington.

The latest economic report shows WOW, which is one of the city's largest increased the amount of spending by visitors by about $2.4m over the past three years.

When the show first came to Wellington in 2005, it generated $8m.

Supreme Award and David Jones Avant Garde Section winner Supernova by Gillian Saunders of Nelson, New Zealand.
NEIL PRICE/WORLD OF WEARABLEART

Supreme Award and David Jones Avant Garde Section winner Supernova by Gillian Saunders of Nelson, New Zealand.

About 58,500 people attended the near-sellout show this year, compared with 53,000 in 2013.

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WOW chief executive Gisella Carr said every year WOW created a new "theatrical extravaganza" to showcase the finalists.

Ashleigh-Jean King and Flavia Rose Wilson won 2016 The Breeze World of Wearable Arts People's Choice award for their ...
SUPPLIED

Ashleigh-Jean King and Flavia Rose Wilson won 2016 The Breeze World of Wearable Arts People's Choice award for their garment, Ester.

"[And] it is this promise of surprise that entices people back to Wellington.

"The majority of our fans come to see the awards show more than once because each year is exciting and different from the one before."

The show attracts entries from more than 40 countries, in turn attracting many international visitors.

Models showcase "Bizarre Bras" for this year's World of Wearable Art.
SUPPLIED

Models showcase "Bizarre Bras" for this year's World of Wearable Art.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) events and partnerships general manager Warrick Dent said about 2 per cent of WOW visitors were from overseas.

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That figure was a small increase on previous years, he said.

International visitors were an "untapped" area for organisers at the moment, he said.

"But we are looking to increase that over time."

As it stands, overseas WOW visitors spend more money on accommodation than domestic visitors, as they tend to stay longer, Dent said.

They also spend a lot on retail and hospitality, he said.

Carr said the event's reputation as "New Zealand's most technically challenging theatrical production" helped organisers to continue to expand a new fan base.
 
With the successful 2016 show complete, focus was now firmly on future opportunities with the 2017 show already taking shape, Carr said.

"Preparations for our 30th anniversary in 2018 are ramping up too.

"This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for WOW and Wellington to celebrate the outstanding achievements of founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff and those around her who built WOW from scratch to the phenomenon it is today."

Wellington's contract with the World of Wearable Art show runs until 2021.

 - Stuff

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