Airshow rewards sky high

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:13 15/07/2013

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The 2013 Omaka Classic Fighters Airshow generated $3.21 million for the region's economy, according to an independent report.

The Economic Evaluation of Classic Fighters 2013, prepared by Auckland research specialists Covec, showed the return on investment far exceeded the returns on other high-profile events, including the Auckland Marathon, the ASB Classic women's tennis tournament and the Heineken Open men's tennis tournament.

Classic Fighters committee member Jane Orphan said the report was "impressive" and confirmed the entire community benefited from the airshow held every two years.

"This proves to people that this is a worthwhile event that benefits everyone, not just a small section of the community who are being entertained," she said.

"We've had some pretty hard criticism in the past and I think [the report] answers those questions about how widely this benefits the region."

The study was put together with information from the show's operating budget, a face-to-face survey of 821 people at the show, and an online survey of 1326 participants and attendees.

It showed the equivalent of 30,000 day tickets were sold over the three-day event, and 21,430 people attended.

Of those, 6540 people were from Marlborough, and the remaining 14,890 were from outside the region. Of the out of town attendees, 1799 attended the show "incidentally" as they were visiting the region for a different reason.

The visitor nights and the spend generated at the event - as assessed by the Covec report - was only attributed to the remaining 13,090 visitors.

Spectators were most likely to be male, with more than two-thirds of attendees men, with an average age of 52.

The 13,090 show visitors stayed an average of 2.08 nights in Marlborough each.

The total spend from all visitors, on accommodation, food and beverage, transport, activities and retail shopping, excluding airshow tickets, was $3.05m.

A further $153,855 was spent in Marlborough to organise and deliver the event.

Marlborough's investment in the event, mainly from ticket sales by Marlborough residents, was almost $299,584.

The return on Marlborough's investment was $6.31 for every dollar spent, or 631 per cent, "a high level of return for a major event", the report said.

"The average return on investment across Auckland's event portfolio was 95 per cent in 2012-13."

Council strategic planning and economic development manager Neil Henry said the reason the event had such high returns was because of the high number of people who attended the event from outside Marlborough.

"The report shows the value in holding events here that attract people from outside the region who spend their money here," he said.

The Marlborough District Council did not put any money towards the event, he said.

Councillors are to discuss the report and a proposed regional events strategy at the council's community and financial planning committee meeting on Thursday.

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- The Marlborough Express

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