New Mardi Gras CEO Anna McInerney remains unconcerned about the impact of changes to the party format next year, despite newly released figures highlighting the importance of short-term visitors to the event.
Independently conducted survey figures released by Events NSW this week estimated this year’s parade attracted more than 21,000 travellers and contributed almost $30 million  to the local economy.
Of those, international tourists stayed an average of 10.5 nights while interstate visitors only spent 3.9 nights in Sydney during the Mardi Gras festival.
McInerney said she was delighted at the results which placed the event in the top five rankings of functions on the NSW events calendar.
I was delighted and surprised that the number of international and interstate visitors was as high as it was, she told Sydney Star Observer.
It’s always difficult to gauge because the only hard data, with our limited resources and capacity, we could rely on were the Ticketek party sales data.
We also know there’s a large number of tourists who come to Sydney specifically for Mardi Gras but they don’t go to the party, and of course with the parade being free there was no way to really gauge how many of the parade’s participants were tourists.
With Events NSW, it’s really good they’ve given us a snapshot of what we expected would be the case.
McInerney said she was unconcerned about the impact of plans to split the parade and party over two weekends next year.
I think those numbers will hold, but it’s difficult to gauge at this point because it’s a completely new format and a concept that’s not tested, she said.
Next year is going to be an interesting year. I think people still come for the parade because they really want to be in a parade and the after-party is a nice thing to do.
Ultimately I think there is a portion of people who come to both but there’s also a portion of people who go in the parade who don’t go to the party because they’re exhausted.

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