Festival of lights gets a positive response

The Festival of Lights has again received glowing reviews.

Yesterday the New Plymouth District Council released the results of a survey of 609 visitors to the festival.

Just over 98.50 per cent of respondents gave the festival, which cost $550,000 to put on, a big thumbs up.

Event manager Melissa Devine-Collins said the high satisfaction rating was reassuring after the controversy that erupted when the lighting contractor was changed in July 2012.

The contract to install the iconic festival's lights was awarded to Wellington company MJF Lighting, despite New Plymouth-based Wells Instrument and Electrical having held the contract for nine years and putting in a bid $26,100 cheaper.

"We were really happy with the new lighting contractor, so it's great that the feedback also reflects that," she said.

"Our aim is to put on a great event that leaves everyone smiling and we've pretty much achieved that with this season's festival."

Out of town and overseas visitors made up 31.36 per cent of people attending the festival, while 56.16 were from the New Plymouth District and 12.48 per cent were from elsewhere in Taranaki.

Of those visiting the festival from outside the region, 12.04 per cent said the reason for their trip to Taranaki was to attend the TSB Bank Festival of Lights.

"There's a sense of pride for the locals when they take their visitors to the festival. They are so proud," she said.

"And the results also show that this festival is truly an asset for our community."

Nearly 40 per cent of survey respondents attended the festival up to three times during the season, up two per cent on the previous year.

This year the festival celebrated 60 years of lights in Pukekura Park.

"We wanted to make sure the anniversary was bright and lively - not just on the day but throughout the festival's six-week run - and we've got really positive comments through the survey about the festival's activities and its overall atmosphere."

Taranaki Daily News