A WEEKEND jam-packed with back-to-back events means one thing for Wagga’s economy: dollars.
And the organiser of the Spring Street Festival, which successfully held its first showing on Saturday, says last weekend proved there were lessons to be learned for event-driven tourism in the city.
Alexandra Mack said hosting multiple events on at the same time didn’t detract from attendance rates at the festival, but believes it could have been a key factor in its success.
The three major drawcards were Aggies Race Day, the Riverina Truck Show and Kids Convoy and the Spring Street Festival – each attracting a crowd of more than 5000 people under perfect skies. Other events included the HIH Awards, the Aviation Hall of Fame dinner, powerboat racing at Lake Albert as well as a dressage event at CSU.
“The better people work together, the better we’re going to draw people into town,” Ms Mack said of the simultaneous events.
The better people work together, the better we’re going to draw people into town.- Spring Street Festival organiser Alexandra Mack
“This is the bigger picture: we’re drawing people here and everybody benefits. We should be working to make sure these big events happen on an annual basis and aren’t just one-offs.”
Event-driven tourism is now viewed by council as the city’s “bread and butter” for tourism, with the Kapooka march-outs a regular and lucrative source of visitors. The Riverina’s tourism leaders also see Wagga as a gateway destination to unlock the rest of the region.
With the latest research showing visitors spend on average more than $100 per day in the city, it’s why council’s director of economic development, Peter Adams, is keen to see event tourism thrive.
“Clearly, we are not going to have wide, open beaches,” he said. “So what it is about Wagga that gives us our competitive advantage really comes down to our location.
“Between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, Wagga is the place to hold that event.”
Dr Adams said there had been positive signs for the city’s tourism market with the construction of new motels and the renovation of older motels. He said the attraction of certain high-profile events would require infrastructure upgrades. It comes as the equine industry calls for upgrades of Equex to attract new events.
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