Economic Impact of 2018 Airshow highest yet!

Economic Impact of 2018 Airshow highest yet!

Wanaka: A just released report has shown a significant increase in the economic impact and satisfaction ratings for the 30th Anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow held last Easter.

Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager, Ed Taylor, says they’re thrilled with the results which show visitors to the event spent almost $24million, up around $4million on the previous event, while the overall positive rating for the airshow was an impressive 97% up from 90% in 2016.

“We’re especially pleased with the high satisfaction levels. This is something our whole team works so hard on. Making sure that the flying displays are world-class but also that everything else about the Airshow, right down to the toilet facilities, are top-notch as well.”

Of the flying displays the USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon jet display was the standout highlight but other acts rating highly included the WWII fighter aircraft, aerobatic pilot Jurgis Kairys, the Catalina, the C-17 Globemaster, Black Falcons and the Packard car display.

“Another heartening number was a 91% positive safety rating. Safety is obviously our single biggest focus area. We are continually looking at ways to make the total event experience a safe one for everyone involved and this rating reflects all the hard work done by so many in our team,” says Ed.

In terms of the overall economic impact those who came specifically for the event spent a total of $23,621,631 in the Queenstown-Lakes region. Others who were coming to the region anyway but also attended the Airshow spent another $18,551,916 while in the area.

“One of the pleasing aspects of the numbers is strong growth in the average length of stay which is up from 3.5 nights in 2016 to 4.1 nights this year. This is an area we have been working with Lake Wanaka Tourism to grow. Plus total bed nights for Warbirds was 154,582, up 26% on 2016.”

The breakdown of where visitors stayed has also provided some interesting insights with 28% of international visitors to the Airshow staying in B&B/farmstay/homestay or Airbnb accommodation. This was the largest percentage followed by 18% staying in motels and 13% in both hotels and in holiday homes. “These statistics have backed up anecdotal evidence that a lot more of our visitors chose the likes of Airbnb and rented holiday homes this time around,” says Ed.

Ed says the report has also shown up a couple of areas where not everyone thought organisers got it quite right and he says they’ll look to improve on these for the next Airshow.

“An example of this was the demand on food outlets at lunchtime. We knew we were going to have a big crowd because of the 30th Anniversary and the F-16s so we had more food outlets on site but obviously not quite enough and this meant some lengthy queues at peak times,” says Ed.

The Warbirds EIA report was compiled by Research First Ltd and surveyed a total of 1239 respondents. Data is accurate to +/- 2.8%.

The next Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow will be held at Easter 2020 (April 10th, 11th and 12th).

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