New events tipped to bring in $46 million

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013

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Up to $46 million has been predicted to be reaped by the Queenstown and Wanaka economies from almost $458,000 in new events funded by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

The past six months have been labelled a "bedding-in" period for the new events office to test its strategy.

Figures seem to point to the office surpassing its goal of enhancing the district's "profile and reputation as a leading events destination in New Zealand and . . . to improve the regional, national and international profile of the district".

One of the office's main objectives - identifying and securing one new one-off or recurring major event that will attract 10,000-plus visitors with a $10 million economic benefit - has been fulfilled by securing April's Queenstown Blues and Roots Festival.

The Doobie Brothers and Elvis Costello will headline the one-day outdoor gig at the Queenstown Events Centre.

The New Zealand Open Championship at Sir Michael Hill's Arrowtown golf course, Millbrook and Jacks Point in February/March is also listed in the "new" category. The tournament has been through previous incarnations, but its latest version promises to be bigger and better.

The championship received the largest amount of monetary support from the office - $100,000 - reflecting its status and economic impact value, while the blues and roots festival received $28,800 of "in-kind" services.

The business end of the office's goals is encapsulated in firm targets of visitor numbers, visitor nights spent in the district and direct incremental economic impact. They look to be well on target, according to council forecasts. The target for event visitor numbers for 2013-14 was 80,000, but is predicted to be more than 146,000. Event visitor nights were targeted at 250,000, but are predicted to top 299,000.

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- The Southland Times

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