NAFA 2021 injects $11.8 million into Townsville economy

Date published: 24 November 2021

A staggering $11.8 million has been pumped into Townsville’s economy thanks to this year’s North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA).

The figure includes $4.8 million in direct economic impact, which was driven by ticket sales, food and drinks, accommodation and flights for attendees.

The economic benefits, as well as other post-event details, were highlighted in the North Australian Festival of Arts 2021 Impact Report noted at today’s Townsville City Council meeting.

The report showed that $1.5 million was spent at NAFA events during the month-long event, which ran from early July to early August this year.

Mayor Jenny Hill said this was a massive boon to the Townsville economy.

“Cementing Townsville’s title as the arts and culture capital of Northern Australia is a focus for Council. We are proud to deliver NAFA each year – it is a world-class festival that has developed a reputation for high-calibre acts and exhibitions since its inception in 2019,” Cr Hill said.

“Townsville has been extremely lucky to forge ahead with events like NAFA despite the challenges other cities have faced with lockdowns caused by COVID. Thanks to NAFA 2021, our city has benefited from $4.8 million directly, which is a much-welcomed boost to our economy following a tough year during 2020.

“That figure is more than doubled to $11.8 million when you look at the multiplied economic impact, which takes into account the flow-on effect of demand for goods and services like hotel stays and meals out across our city.

“This is an enormous boon for artists, business owners and the Townsville hospitality industry, which have had to bounce back following a difficult run with COVID lockdowns.”

Community and Cultural Development Committee chairperson Ann-Maree Greaney said the figures showed just how valuable NAFA was for Townsville businesses and for artists across the country.

“Council is proud to bring this award-winning event to Townsville each year, the challenges of COVID notwithstanding. It is worth the hard work to see the economic impact the event has on Townsville and the enjoyment it brings to our community,” Cr Greaney said.

“But more than the financial figures, the social connections and avenues for artists to have their work celebrated in Townsville makes the year-long NAFA planning process worthwhile.

“We had 95 per cent of our surveyed attendees rate their overall experience at NAFA as good and excellent, which just goes to show how much members of the public enjoy the event.

“Artists and business owners have been doing it tough since COVID rocked our world early last year, so seeing these extremely positive results just a year on shows how resilient our communities are and just how powerful art can be during difficult times.

“Now we can look forward to NAFA 2022, giving the city more reasons to make the most of the events season right here in the arts and culture capital of Northern Australia.”

NAFA 2022 will run from Friday 10 June to Sunday 10 July next year. For more information about NAFA, head to the NAFA website.

NAFA 2021 quick stats

  • Audience
    • Total: 26,946
    • Ticketed attendance: 13,170
    • Non-ticketed attendance: 13,776
  • Box office
    • Total box office revenue: $476,239
    • Average ticket price: $36
    • Tickets sold: 11,664
  • Shows
    • Total number of shows: 243
    • Individual performances: 79
    • Free events: 135
    • Shows accessible for people with disability: 100%
    • Number of shows cancelled due to COVID: 97
  • Artists
    • Number of artists: 376
    • Local artists: 64%
    • Queensland-based artists: 12%
    • Interstate artists: 20%
    • Overseas artists: 4%
  • Sites
    • Strand Park: 19,310 visitors | 18 event days
    • Central Park: 1963 visitors | six event days
    • Queens Gardens: 1544 visitors | one event day
    • The Ville Headland: 3497 visitors | three event days