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New Year of Visitor Economy Growth

Last updated 17 Jan, 2024

Adelaide's visitor economy is already showing promising signs of growth in 2024, building on the momentum of 2023's successful events and festivals. Annual events like the Adelaide International and Santos Tour Down Under (TDU) are front runners in this positive trajectory, setting a foundation for key events leading into the first half of the year with the Adelaide Fringe Festival, WOMADelaide, AFL Gather Round, LIV Golf, Tasting Australia, and more.

  • The Adelaide International attracted 51,117 attendees at The Drive from 8 – 13 January 2024, setting a new record for the highest attendance at a single-week event since 2020 (sourced here).
  • Data from STR shows forward hotel bookings for the TDU period in 2024 have surpassed those of the previous year, with a forward occupancy rate of 61% compared to 2023's 45%, even amidst an increase in available accommodation. Over 65,000 rooms have been booked for the 10-day cycling festival (sourced here).

Economic impact of events throughout 2023

In 2023, the city experienced an increase in international visitation and significant spending surges in entertainment and dining sectors. Explore the shifts that shaped Adelaide's economy over the past year particularly during times of heightened activity and visitor influx.

Start of the Year

  • Low activity levels early January due to holidays
  • International visitation numbers in January were at the highest point since 2022 (read more here)
  • Midweek visitor economy was strong in the first quarter of 2023, with a 185 per cent increase in business event delegates
  • The Big Bash League cricket and the Australian Football League encouraged spending across dining and entertainment, specifically in North Adelaide

Peak Period

  • The return of workers and school resumption, along with major events like the Fringe Festival and Adelaide Motorsport Festival, marked a rebound in activity.
  • Visitor expenditure during the Adelaide Fringe was 20% higher than in 2022
  • Singular events, such as Valentine’s Day and the Ed Sheeran concert, saw an uptake in hotel occupancy and midweek expenditure
  • Visitor expenditure increased across dining and entertainment, with a spending 26 per cent higher during the second half of March 2023 when compared to the first half
  • Interstate spend was $142.9 million, a 36% increase on Q1 2022

Middle of the Year

  • Despite fewer events, total spend in the city reached new heights, with July recording the strongest month since December 2021. The figures showed spending estimates were $365 million in July in comparison to $342 million in June (continue reading more here)
  • The City of Adelaide hosted UnSeen, activated the West End with a lift in visitors (when compared to weekends in June 2022)
  • Illuminate Adelaide boosted visitor numbers in July. Over 15,000 interstate and overseas visitors and generated 33,727 visitor nights, boosting hotel and hospitality numbers across the city (see 2023 results here)
  • Students and holiday goers returned late July and activity moved in an upward trajectory from August until December
  • FIFA Women's World Cup brought more than 87,000 fans to the FIFA Fan Festival at Festival Plaza and the pop-up live site at The Drive

Spring Time

  • September was a quieter period with the end of the AFL season, however as the weather improves, activity continued to grow
  • Forward hotel bookings in the city increased during The Royal Adelaide Show as regional families travelled to the city to either participate or attend
  • Events such as the City to Bay, SANFL Grand Final and Listen In brought in crowds to their respective locations
  • Increased hotel bookings and impact from events like OzAsia Fest, Adelaide Film Festival, Harvest Rock, Oktoberfest, Cheese Fest, NatureFest, ADL Fashion Week, WellFest Adelaide, and the Dozynki Harvest Festival

End of Year

  • More than 300,000 people in attendance of the Christmas Pageant and Black Friday bringing thousands of people to shop in Rundle Mall
  • In 2022/23, there were 103 cruise and expedition ship visits, injecting a substantial $215 million into the state's economy and supporting 704 jobs
  • Impact of events like VAILO Adelaide 500, the Men’s Cricket Test Series at Adelaide Oval, end of year work shows, Christmas shopping and Christmas events, and New Year’s celebrations
  • Activity fell off when students and workers took a break for the summer holiday period

To drive visitation, spend and support for local businesses as well as increase the profile of the city as a tourist destination, AEDA, on behalf of the City of Adelaide, plays a role in supporting a calendar of annual events via the Events and Festivals Sponsorship Program. The next round will open March 2024.